Liberal Democratic party

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Liberal Democratic party

(LDP), Japanese political party. It began as the conservative Liberal party, which, under Shigeru YoshidaYoshida, Shigeru
, 1878–1967, Japanese statesman. He was until 1954 the most powerful political figure in postwar Japan. He was ambassador to Italy (1930–32) and to Great Britain (1936–39).
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, became the dominant political force in Japan following World War II. In 1955 the Liberals merged with the newly created Democratic party. Retaining control of the Japanese government for 38 years, the LDP supported Japan's alliance with the United States and fostered close links between Japanese business and government. Following charges of corruption in Prime Minister Kiichi MiyazawaMiyazawa, Kiichi
, 1919–2007, Japanese politician, b. Fukuyama. A member of an eminent political family, he graduated from Tokyo Univ. and served in the finance ministry during the Allied occupation.
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's government, it lost its parliamentary majority in the 1993 elections, which put a coalition government in power. In spite of numerous defections by LDP members of parliament over the party's failure to enact political reform, it remained Japan's largest political party. From 1994, when the LDP returned to power, it was the senior partner in a series of coalition governments.

Ryutaro HashimotoHashimoto, Ryutaro
, 1937–2006, Japanese politician, b. Tokyo, grad. Keio Univ. He entered politics in 1963, when he was elected to parliament from Okayama prefecture.
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 became LDP leader in 1995, assuming the post of deputy prime minister in Prime Minister Tomiichi MurayamaMurayama, Tomiichi
, 1924–, Japanese politician. A long-time labor union official and member of the Socialist party, he was originally elected to parliament in 1972.
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's cabinet. Upon Murayama's resignation early in 1996, Hashimoto became prime minister; Keizo ObuchiObuchi, Keizo
, 1937–2000, Japanese politician, prime minister of Japan (1998–2000), b. Nakanojo. The son of a silk manufacturer and politician, Obuchi graduated from Waseda Univ. in 1962 and in 1963 was elected to the parliament seat once held by his late father.
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 succeeded Hashimoto as party leader and prime minister in 1998. When Obuchi was incapacitated by a severe stroke in 2000, Yoshiro MoriMori, Yoshiri,
1937–, Japanese politician, prime minister of Japan (2000–2001), b. Neagari. Born into a political family in rural Ishikawa prefecture and educated at Waseda Univ., he was a newspaper reporter before his first election to the Diet in 1969.
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, secretary-general of the LDP, succeeded him as prime minister, but the unpopular Mori was replaced in less than a year by Junichiro KoizumiKoizumi, Junichiro
, 1942–, Japanese political leader, b. Yokosuka. From a political family, he studied economics at Keio Univ. (grad. 1967). He entered politics in 1970 as a member of the Liberal Democratic party (LDP), and two years later was elected to the Diet.
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. Koizumi was succeeded as party leader by Shinzo AbeAbe, Shinzo
, 1954–, Japanese political leader. The son and grandson of politicians (his grandfather was Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi), he served as secretary to his father and succeeded to his father's seat in the Diet in 1993.
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 in 2006, Yasuo FukudaFukuda, Yasuo
, 1936–, Japanese politician. Son of ex-prime minister (1976–78) Takeo Fukuda, he attended Waseda Univ. (grad. 1959) and worked for an oil company for 17 years.
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 in 2007, and Taro AsoAso, Taro
, 1940–, Japanese politician, prime minister of Japan (2008–9). Grandson of Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida and son of a successful industrialist, he attended Gakushuin Univ. (grad. 1963), Stanford, and the Univ. of London.
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 in 2008. In 2009 the LDP's long dominance of postwar Japanese politics ended when the Japan Democratic party won the elections in a landslide and displaced the LDP as the largest party in the Diet. Aso resigned as party leader and was succeeded by Sadakazu Tanigaki, a former finance minister. Shinzo Abe was elected as party leader in 2012. The LDP subsequently won (Dec., 2012) a landslide victory and, Abe became prime minister; early elections in 2014 and 2017 continued Abe's mandate. When he resigned for health reasons in 2020, Yoshihide SugaSuga, Yoshihide,
1948—, Japanese political leader. A member of the Liberal Democratic party, he was first elected to the Japanese house of representatives in 1996, having served (from 1987) two terms in Yokohoma's city council.
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 succeeded him.


See E. S. Krauss and R. J. Pekkanen, The Rise and Fall of Japan's LDP (2010).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Liberal Democratic Party


(LDP; Jiyu Minshuto), a political party of Japan expressing the interests of big capital, the rural bourgeoisie, and the privileged bureaucracy.

The Liberal Democratic Party was established in November 1955 through the merger of the Liberal and Democratic parties. Because of its majority in parliament, the LDP has formed the one-party government of Japan since the moment it was constituted. The domestic policies of the LDP include the placing of limitations on the democratic freedoms of the workers, reconsideration of the constitution (particularly its ninth article, which proclaims Japan’s renunciation of war and the maintenance of armed forces), remilitarization of the country, and cultivation of nationalistic ideology. A cornerstone of the foreign policy line of the LDP is the continuation of Japan’s military and political alliance with the USA. In the early 1970’s the party began to develop relations with the USSR and other socialist countries. The main foreign-policy goal of the LDP is to elevate Japan’s political influence to a level commensurate with its increased economic potential.

The party is structured to meet the needs of parliamentary struggle. LDP sections in cities and prefectures serve basically only as organs for staging election campaigns. The congress is formally considered to be the highest body of the party, but in fact all power is concentrated in the hands of the party leadership. Takeo Miki became the president of the party in December 1974, simultaneously occupying the post of prime minister of the country. The LDP’s press organ is the newspaper Jiyu Minshu.


Latyshev, I. A. Praviashchaia liberal’no-demokraticheskaia partiia Iaponii i ee politika. Moscow, 1967.
Sovremennaia Iaponiia: Spravochnik. Moscow, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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