Democratic Party (Japan)

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Democratic Party
Japanese name Minshintō
President Renhō
Secretary-General Yoshihiko Noda[1]
Founded 27 March 2016; 15 months ago (2016-03-27)
Merger of Democratic Party of Japan
Japan Innovation Party
Headquarters Nagatachō, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Ideology Big tent
Liberalism (Japan)
Social liberalism[2]
Political position Centre to Centre-left[3]
International affiliation None
Colors      Blue
49 / 242
97 / 475

The Democratic Party (民進党, Minshintō), abbreviated as DP, is the main opposition political party in Japan.[4] The party was founded on 27 March 2016 from the merger of the Democratic Party of Japan and the Japan Innovation Party.[5]


The party's Japanese name Minshintō combines "min" from minshu ("democratic") and shin (, "advance, progress"), not shin (, "new") from ishin (innovation).[6]



On 24 February 2016 the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and the Japan Innovation Party (JIP) announced that they were to merge at a special convention on 27 March to form a new opposition party in order to better compete with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in an Upper House election that was scheduled for later the same year.[7][8][9][10] On 4 March 2016, the DPJ and JIP asked the public for suggestions for a name for the merged party.[11] On 14 March 2016, the name of the new party was announced as Minshintō (Democratic Progressive Party), the most popular shortlisted name among polled voters and preferred by the JIP, beating Rikken Minshutō (Constitutional Democratic Party) that was preferred by the DPJ.[6] On 18 March 2016, the official English language title of the new party was announced as the Democratic Party.[12] On 22 March, the DPJ announced that 4 sitting Representatives from Vision of Reform would join the party at its launch.[13]

The new party was founded on 27 March 2016 with the leadership consisting of Katsuya Okada as party president, Yukio Edano as secretary-general and Shiori Yamao as policy chief.[14] The party platform committed to protecting the existing pacifist Japanese constitution, and stating opposition to the "Abenomics" policies of Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.[15][16][17]

2016 House of Councillors election[edit]

The election on 10 July 2016 was the first major election contested by the new party. Following the merger, the party entered the election with 62 seats in the 242-seat House, with 45 of those 62 seats being contested. During the nomination period, the party signed an agreement with the Japanese Communist Party (JCP), Social Democratic Party and People's Life Party to field a jointly-endorsed candidate in each of the 32 districts in which only one seat is contested, uniting in an attempt to take control of the House from the ruling LDP–Komeito coalition.[18] Despite the agreement, Democratic Party leader Okada stated that forming a coalition government with the JCP would be "impossible" in the near future due to some of the "extreme leftist policies" promoted by the JCP.[19]

The party had a total of 55 official candidates contesting the election, the same number as the DPJ in the 2013 election and the third-most behind the LDP and Communist Party.[20] 33 candidates contested the single- and multi-member districts and 22 were in the party's list for the 48-seat national proportional representation block.[20] A further 15 independent candidates contesting single-seat districts were endorsed by the party. The party suffered a considerable defeat at the hands of the ruling coalition, losing 13 seats overall. Five of the 15 endorsed independents were also elected, including two that claimed seats formerly held by retiring Democratic Party members.[21] Following the loss, Okada announced he would not seek re-election as leader at the party's annual meeting in September.[22]


The policies of the DP differs little from the policies of its predecessor, the DPJ, with policies such as increasing diversity, contributing to world peace, preserving democracy, and promote prosperity.[14] They are considered to be open-minded in terms of North Korea, with one member of the party saying that doing nothing would not be responsible.[23][24] The DP, like its Democratic Party predecessor, is opposed to nuclear power.[25] The DP wants to raise the minimum wage of Japan.[14]

Presidents of the Democratic Party[edit]

No. Name Term of office Image Election results
Took office Left office
Katsuya Okada
岡田 克也
Okada Katsuya
27 March 2016 1 October 2016 Minister Okada.jpg Interim President
see former DPJ 2015 election
1st Renhō
村田 蓮舫
Murata Renhō
1 October 2016 Incumbent Renho Minshu 20130714.jpg see 2016 election


The Democratic Party, like its predecessor Democratic Party of Japan, is composed of factions originating in the Liberal Democratic Party, Japan Socialist Party and the Democratic Socialist Party, augmented by the merger with the Japan Innovation Party. Significant factions existing within the party include:

  • The Eda-Matsuno Group or the ex-Japan Innovation Party group (旧維新の党グループ Kyū Ishin no tō gurūpo) led by Kenji Eda and Yorihisa Matsuno, composed of the mostly Tokyo-centred group of the Japan Innovation Party that merged to form the Democratic Party in 2016 (the Osaka-centred group is now Nippon Ishin no Kai).
  • The Kan Group or the "National Structure Research Council" (国のかたち研究会 Koku-no-katachi kenkyūkai) of former Prime Minister Naoto Kan, a moderate centrist group.
  • The Akamatsu Group or "Sanctuary" (サンクチュアリ Sankuchuari) of Hirotaka Akamatsu, formerly of the JSP and a moderately social-democratic group.
  • The Maehara Group or the "Ryōun Council" (凌雲会 Ryōunkai) of former foreign minister Seiji Maehara, a conservative, nationalist and revisionist group.
  • The Genba Group or the "Grand Design Japan Research Council (『日本のグランド・デザイン』研究会 Nihon no gurando-dezain" kenkyūkai) of Kōichirō Genba, a liberal group.
  • The ex-DSP Group or Takagi Group, known as the "Democratic Socialist Association" (民社協会 Minsha kyōkai) of Yoshiaki Takaki and Hiroshi Nakai, representing the former Democratic Socialist Party tradition in the DP. Social-democratic, nationalist and revisionist.
  • The Ōhata Group or the "Elementary Exchange Group" (素交会 Sokōkai) of Akihiro Ōhata, a moderate progressive group.
  • The Yokomichi Group or the "New Political Discussion Group" (新政局懇談会 Shin-seikyoku kondankai) of former parliamentary speaker Takahiro Yokomichi. A social democratic group originating in the JSP and one of the more left-wing factions of the party.
  • The Hosono Group or the "Oath Committee" (自誓会 Jiseikai) of Gōshi Hosono. A conservative group.
  • The Noda Group or "Kaisei Group" (花斉会 Kaseikai) of former Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. A moderately conservative group.
  • The Hiraoka-Kondō or "Liberal Committee" (リベラルの会 Riberaru-no-kai) of Shōichi Kondō and Hideo Hiraoka. A progressive liberal group.
  • The Nagashima Group or "National Axis Committee" (国軸の会 Kokujiku no kai) of Akihisa Nagashima. A conservative, nationalist and revisionist group.
  • The Hata Group or "Governance Research Council" (政権戦略研究会 Seiken senryaku kenkyūkai) of former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata, a moderate centrist group.

Election results[edit]

Councillors election results[edit]

Election Leader # of seats total # of seats won # of National votes  % of National vote # of National seats won # of Prefectural votes  % of Prefectural vote # of Prefectural seats won
2016 Katsuya Okada
49 / 242
32 / 121
11,751,015[26] 21.0%
11 / 48
14,215,956[28] 25.1%
21 / 73


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2016-09-16. 
  2. ^ “民進党綱領” (プレスリリース), 民進党, (2016年3月27日)
  3. ^ "Japan's Democratic Party chooses a new leader". Public Radio International. 15 September 2016. 
  4. ^ 民進英語名、略称DPに Yomiuri Shimbun
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-28. Retrieved 2016-03-28. 
  6. ^ a b "Introducing Minshin To, Japan's new main opposition force". The Japan Times. Japan: The Japan Times Ltd. 14 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "New main opposition party to be named 'Minshinto'". The Mainichi. Japan: The Mainichi Newspapers. 14 March 2016. Archived from the original on 2016-03-14. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  8. ^ Osaki, Tomohiro; Yoshida, Reiji (24 February 2016). "DPJ endorses merger with Ishin no To; new party to form next month". The Japan Times. Japan: The Japan Times Ltd. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "DPJ, Japan Innovation Party to merge ahead of Upper House election". Asia & Japan Watch. Japan: The Asahi Shimbun Company. 24 February 2016. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "DPJ, Ishin to merge March 27 at special convention". The Japan Times. Japan: The Japan Times Ltd. 29 February 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "DPJ, Ishin no To invite entries for new party name". The Japan Times. Japan: The Japan Times Ltd. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 17 March 2016. 
  12. ^ Osaki, Tomohiro (18 March 2016). "Japan gets its own Democratic Party" – via Japan Times Online. 
  13. ^ "The Democratic Party of Japan". 
  14. ^ a b c Osaki, Tomohiro (27 March 2016). "Democratic Party launches with vow to halt ruling coalition" – via Japan Times Online. 
  15. ^ "New largest opposition party formed between DPJ and JIP:The Asahi Shimbun". 
  16. ^ "Largest opposition party formed in Japan, eyes upper house poll - Xinhua -". 
  17. ^ Yoshida, Reiji (14 March 2016). "Introducing Minshin To, Japan's new main opposition force" – via Japan Times. 
  18. ^ "Opposition parties, activists ink policy pact for Upper House election". Japan Times. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 
  19. ^ Osaki, Tomohiro (21 June 2016). "Abe to ‘take responsibility’ if ruling bloc fails to win 61 seats in Upper House election". Japan Times. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "第3極衰退で候補者減、タレント候補10人に" [Fewer candidates with the demise of the third pole - 10 celebrity candidates] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016. 
  21. ^ "参院選2016(参議院選挙)" [House of Councillors election 2016]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  22. ^ "Democratic Party chief Okada won’t seek re-election". Japan Times. 30 July 2016. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Harris, Tobias (22 April 2016). "Make Japan Democratic Again". Foreign Policy. 
  26. ^ Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: results of the 24th regular election of members of the House of Councillors, [national d'Hondt] proportional representation vote share by party (in Japanese)
  27. ^ a b Yomiuri Shimbun: Results of regular HC election 2016 (in Japanese)
  28. ^ Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications: results of the 24th regular election of members of the House of Councillors, [prefectural SNTV/FPTP] electoral district vote share by party (in Japanese)

External links[edit]