Liberalism in Japan

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Japanese liberalism formed in the nineteenth century as a reaction against traditional society. In the twentieth century 'liberal' gradually became a synonym for conservative, and today the main conservative party in the country is named Liberal Democratic Party (Jiyu Minshuto). The Democratic Party (Minshuto) was considered in part a left-of-center social-liberal party, as are most parties which derived from it. The liberal character of the Liberal League (Jiyu Rengo) is disputed, as it is also considered to be conservative by some. Liberals in Japan are generally considered united by one major factor: their opposition to changing the post-World War II constitution forbidding the creation of a national military.[1] This article is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, proved by having had representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ means a reference to another party in that scheme. For inclusion in this scheme it isn't necessary that parties labelled themselves `liberal`.

The timeline[edit]

From Public Society of Patriots until Constitutional Politics Party[edit]

  • 1874: Liberals founded the Public Society of Patriots (Aikoku Koto)
  • 1881: The Aikoku Koto is continued by the Liberal Party (Jiyu-to)
  • 1891: The Jiyuto is renamed into Constitutional Liberal Party (Rikken Jiyuto)
  • 1898: The Constitutional Liberal Party merged with the ⇒ Progressive Party into the Constitutional Politics Party (Kenseito)
  • 1898: A faction seceded as the ⇒ Constitutional Center Party
  • 1900: The party is taken over by the oligarchy and renamed into Constitutional Political Friends Association (Rikken Seiyukai)

From Constitutional Progressive Party to Reform Club[edit]

From Constitutional Association of Allies to Constitutional Democratic Party[edit]

Authentic Constitutional Party of Political Friendship[edit]

From Renewal Party to Liberal Party (1993)[edit]

  • 1993: A liberal faction of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (Jiyu-Minshuto) seceded as the Renewal Party (Shinseito)
  • 1994: The Renewal Party merged with other factions into the New Frontier Party (Shinshinto)
  • 1997: The New Frontier Party fell apart into many parties, among them since 1998 the Liberal Party (Jiyuto), but also the Good Governance Party (Minseito), the New Fraternity Party (Shinto-Yuai) and the Democratic Reform Party (Minshu-Kaikaku-Rengo)
  • 2000: Dissidents of the Liberal Party formed the New Conservative Party (Hoshuto)
  • 2003: The Liberal Party merged into the ⇒ Democratic Party of Japan

New Party Harbinger[edit]

  • 1993: A liberal faction of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party (Jiyu-Minshuto) seceded as the New Party Harbinger (Shinto Sakigake)
  • 1996: Most members co-found the ⇒ Democratic Party of Japan
  • 1998: The party evolved in conservative direction, renamed into Harbinger (Sakigake) and further renamed in 2002 into Green Assembly (Midori No Kaigi)

Democratic Party of Japan[edit]

CDP and DPP[edit]

Liberal leaders[edit]


  1. ^ Brasor, Philip (21 October 2017). "Identifying the 'liberal' in Japanese politics". The Japan Times. Retrieved 26 October 2017.

See also[edit]