Democratic Party of Japan (1996)

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Democratic Party of Japan

President Naoto Kan
Chief Secretary
(party affairs)
Yukio Hatoyama
Founded 29 September 1996
Dissolved 27 April 1998
Split from New Party Sakigake
Japan Socialist Party
Succeeded by Democratic Party of Japan
Ideology Centrism
Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation None

The Democratic Party of Japan (1996–1998) (民主党, Minshutō) was a centrist[1][2] political party in Japan. The party was one of the forerunners to the Democratic Party of Japan formed in 1998. The two leading member of the party, Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan, subsequently became Prime Minister one after the other at the end of the first decade of the 21st century.


The party was formed mostly of former Sakigake and Japan Socialist Party politicians who did not support an alliance with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.[3] The party was founded on 29 September 1996 by sitting member of the Diet.[4] The initial leaders were Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan, formerly members of Sakigake.[5] The party had 39 parliamentarians upon the party's formation.[5]

The party won 52 seats in the 1996 general election, becoming the second largest opposition party after the New Frontier Party.[6]

In April 1998, the party was joined by former members of the New Frontier Party, which had collapsed in December 1997, increasing its representation to 90 seats.[5] The party then relaunched as the Democratic Party of Japan upon its merger with the Good Governance Party (Minseitō), New Fraternity Party and Democratic Reform Party.[5]


  1. ^ Eiji Takemae (2003). Allied Occupation of Japan. Continuum. p. 540. ISBN 978-0-8264-1521-9. 
  2. ^ Glenn D. Hook; Julie Gilson; Christopher W. Hughes; Hugo Dobson (2013). Japan's International Relations: Politics, Economics and Security. Routledge. p. 58. ISBN 978-1-134-32806-2. 
  3. ^ Gerald L. Curtis (2013). The Logic of Japanese Politics: Leaders, Institutions, and the Limits of Change. Columbia University Press. p. 193. ISBN 978-0-231-50254-2. 
  4. ^ Patrick Koellner (2011). "The Democratic Party of Japan: Development, organization, and programmatic profile". In Alisa Gaunder. Routledge Handbook of Japanese Politics. Taylor & Francis. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-136-81838-7. 
  5. ^ a b c d James Arthur Ainscow Stockwin (2003). Dictionary of the Modern Politics of Japan. Routledge. p. 42. ISBN 978-1-136-89488-6. 
  6. ^ Robert W. Aspinall (2001). Teachers' Unions and the Politics of Education in Japan. SUNY Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-7914-5050-5.