Democratic Party of Japan

Democratic Party of Japan
Democratic Party

President Yoshihiko Noda
Secretary-General Azuma Koshiishi
Spokesperson Yoshiaki Takaki
Councilors leader Azuma Koshiishi
Representatives leader Yoshihiko Noda
Founded 8 January 1998 (1998-01-08)
Merger of
Preceded by Democratic Party of Japan (1996-1998)
Headquarters 1-11-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 100-0014, Japan
Ideology Social liberalism
Social democracy
Third Way
Political position Centre-left [1]
International affiliation Alliance of Democrats[2]
Official colors Red and black (informally)
106 / 242
307 / 480
Politics of Japan
Political parties
Outcome of the House of Representatives Election in 2009
Outcome of the House of Councillors election in 2010

The Democratic Party of Japan (民主党 Minshutō?) is a political party in Japan founded in 1998 by the merger of several opposition parties. Its socially liberal platform is generally considered center-left in the Japanese political spectrum.[1] After the 2009 election the DPJ became the ruling party in the House of Representatives, defeating the long-dominant Liberal Democratic Party and gaining the largest number of seats in both the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors.

It is not to be confused with the now-defunct Japan Democratic Party that merged with the Liberal Party in 1955 to form the Liberal Democratic Party. It is also different from the Democratic Party, established in 1947 and ended in 1950.




The Democratic Party call their philosophy Democratic Centrism (ja:民主中道 Minshu Chudo?), which was determined in the first party convention on April 27, 1998.[3]

View of the status quo

The Democratic Party claim themselves to be revolutionary in that they are against the status quo and the current governing establishment. The Democratic Party argue that the bureaucracy of the Japanese government size is too large, inefficient, and saturated with cronies and that the Japanese state is too conservative and stiff. The Democratic Party wants to "overthrow the ancient régime locked in old thinking and vested interests, solve the problems at hand, and create a new, flexible, affluent society which values people's individuality and vitality."[4]

Political standpoint

We stand for those who have been excluded by the structure of vested interests, those who work hard and pay taxes, and for people who strive for independence despite difficult circumstances. In other words, we represent citizens, taxpayers, and consumers. We do not seek a panacea either in the free market or in the welfare state. Rather, we shall build a new road of the democratic center toward a society in which self-reliant individuals can mutually coexist and the government's role is limited to building the necessary systems.[4]


Democratic Centrism pursues the following five goals.[4]

  • Transparent, just and fair society
The Democratic Party seek to build a society governed with rules which are transparent, just and fair.
  • Free market and inclusive society
While the party argue that the free market system should "permeate" economic life, they also aim for an inclusive society which guarantees security, safety, and fair and equal opportunity for each individual.
  • Decentralized and participatory society
The party intend to devolve the centralized government powers to citizens, markets, and local governments so that people of all backgrounds can participate in decision-making.
  • Compliance with the three constitutional principles
The Democratic Party proclaim to hold the values in the meaning of the constitution to "embody the fundamental principles of the Constitution": popular sovereignty, respect for fundamental human rights, and pacifism.[4]
  • International relations based on self-reliance and mutual coexistence
As a member of the global community, the party seek to establish Japan's international relations in the fraternal spirit of self-reliance and mutual coexistence to restore the world's trust in the country.[4]

Policy platforms

The DPJ's policy platforms include the restructuring of civil service, monthly allowance to a family with children (¥26,000 per child), cut in gas tax, income support for farmers, free tuition for public high schools, banning of temporary work in manufacturing,[5] raising the minimum-wage to ¥1,000 and halting of increase in sales tax for the next four years.[6][7]



The DPJ has some political factions or groups, although they are not as factionalized as the LDP, which has traditionally placed high priority on intra-party factional alignment. The groups are, from the most influential to the least influential:

  • Isshin-kai: supporters of the former LDP leader Ichirō Ozawa. About 50 members.[8]
  • Seiken kōyaku wo Jitsugen suru kai: formed by defectors from LDP and led by former party leader Yukio Hatoyama, has about conservative 30 lawmakers in the Diet. Former name is 'Seiken kotai wo Jitsugen suru kai'.[8]
  • Kuni no katachi kenkyūkai: led by Party President Naoto Kan. Is a liberal leaning faction. About 20 members.[8]

The Independent’s Club is a minor political party which forms a political entity with the DPJ in both chambers of the house.

Presidents of DPJ

The Presidents of Democratic Party of Japan (ja:民主党代表 Minshutō Daihyō?), the formal name is 民主党常任幹事会代表 (Minshutō Jyōnin-Kanji-Kai Daihyō?).

No. Name Term of office Image Election results
Rōmaji Kanji Took Office Left Office
1 Naoto Kan 菅 直人 27 April 1998 18 January 1999 Naoto Kan cropped 3 Naoto Kan 2 20110129.jpg unchallenged
18 January 1999 25 September 1999 Naoto Kan - 180
Shigefumi Matsuzawa - 51
Abstention - 8
2 Yukio Hatoyama 鳩山 由紀夫 25 September 1999 9 September 2000 Yukio Hatoyama.jpg Yukio Hatoyama - 182
Naoto Kan - 130
9 September 2000 23 September 2002 walkover
23 September 2002 10 December 2002 Yukio Hatoyama - 254
Naoto Kan - 242
3 Naoto Kan 菅 直人 10 December 2002 18 May 2004 Naoto Kan cropped 3 Naoto Kan 2 20110129.jpg Naoto Kan - 104
Katsuya Okada - 79
4 Katsuya Okada 岡田 克也 18 May 2004 13 September 2004 Katsuya Okada on March 29, 2010 V2.jpg unchallenged
13 September 2004 17 September 2005 walkover
5 Seiji Maehara 前原 誠司 17 September 2005 7 April 2006 Maehara Seiji-1.jpg Seiji Maehara - 96
Naoto Kan - 94
Abstention - 3
6 Ichirō Ozawa 小沢 一郎 7 April 2006 12 September 2006 Ichiro Ozawa 2009830.jpg Ichirō Ozawa - 119
Naoto Kan - 73
12 September 2006 21 September 2008 walkover
21 September 2008 16 May 2009 walkover
7 Yukio Hatoyama 鳩山 由紀夫 16 May 2009 4 June 2010 Yukio Hatoyama.jpg see election 2009
Yukio Hatoyama - 124
Katsuya Okada - 95
8 Naoto Kan 菅 直人 4 June 2010 14 September 2010 Naoto Kan cropped 3 Naoto Kan 2 20110129.jpg see election Jun 2010
Naoto Kan - 291
Shinji Tarutoko - 129
14 September 2010 29 August 2011 see election Sep 2010
Naoto Kan - 721
Ichirō Ozawa - 491
9 Yoshihiko Noda 野田 佳彦 29 August 2011 Incumbent Yoshihiko Noda-1.jpg see election 2011
Yoshihiko Noda - 215
Banri Kaieda - 177

Election results

All-time highest values are bolded

General election results

Election Leader # of candidates # of seats won # of PR Block votes  % of PR Block vote # of Constituency votes  % of Constituency vote
2000 Yukio Hatoyama 262 127 15,067,990 25.18% 16,811,732 27.61%
2003 Naoto Kan 277 177 22,095,636 37.39% 21,814,154 36.66%
2005 Katsuya Okada 299 113 21,036,425 31.02% 24,804,786 36.44%
2009 Yukio Hatoyama 330 308 29,844,799 42.41% 33,475,334 47.43%

Councillors election results

Election Leader # of seats total # of seats won # of PR Block votes  % of PR Block vote # of Constituency votes  % of Constituency vote
1998 Naoto Kan 47 27 12,209,685 21.75% 9,063,939 16.20%
2001 Yukio Hatoyama 59 33 8,990,524 16.42% 10,066,552 18.53%
2004 Katsuya Okada 82 50 21,137,457 37.79% 21,931,984 39.09%
2007 Ichirō Ozawa 109 60 23,256,247 39.48% 24,006,817 40.45%
2010 Naoto Kan 106 44 18,450,139 31.56% 22,756,000 38.97%

See also


Further reading

External links

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