Liberal Party (Japan, 1998)

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Liberal Party

President Ichirō Ozawa
Secretary-General Takeshi Noda
Founded 1 January 1998
Dissolved 26 September 2003
Split from New Frontier Party
Merged into Democratic Party of Japan
Political position Centre-right[1]
Colors Blue

The Liberal Party (自由党, Jiyū-tō) was a political party in Japan formed in 1998 by Ichirō Ozawa and Hirohisa Fujii. It is now defunct, having joined the Democratic Party of Japan in 2003.


The Liberal Party was formed from remnants of the New Frontier Party after it dissolved in 1998. The party did do quite well for a new party, joining the opposition led by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and also including the New Kōmeitō, the Social Democratic Party and Japanese Communist Party, and thus helped contest elections against the ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).

In January 1999, it formed a coalition with the ruling LDP under Keizō Obuchi.[2] Takeshi Noda as Minister for Home Affairs became its only member in the realigned Obuchi cabinet, later replaced by Toshihiro Nikai as Minister of Transportation. Later that year, the New Kōmeitō joined the coalition as well, and party president Ichirō Ozawa decided to lead the Liberal Party back into the opposition as he saw his party's position endangered.[3] However, some members of the coalition wanted to stay in the government and eventually formed the breakaway New Conservative Party.[4]

In October 2003, because of the upcoming election, the Liberal Party finally merged with the DPJ[5] and all its members joined the new party, making an influential grouping within the party. The DPJ did tremendously well, and Hirohisa Fujii became the Secretary General of the Democratic Party of Japan, while Ichiro Ozawa led the Liberal Party faction within the DPJ. In 2016, the name was revived by Ozawa, on his renaming of the People's Life Party to the Liberal Party.

Presidents of LP[edit]

No. Name Term of office Image
Took Office Left Office
1 Ichirō Ozawa
小沢 一郎
Ozawa Ichirō
1 January 1998 26 September 2003 Ichiro Ozawa cropped 3 Yoshitaka Kimoto and Ichiro Ozawa 20010718.jpg

Election results[edit]

General election results[edit]

Election Leader # of candidates # of seats won # of Constituency votes  % of Constituency vote # of PR Block votes  % of PR Block vote
2000 Ichirō Ozawa 75 22 2,053,736 3.37% 6,589,490 11.01%

Councillors election results[edit]

Election Leader # of seats total # of seats won # of National votes  % of National vote # of Prefectural votes  % of Prefectural vote
1998 Ichirō Ozawa 12 6 5,207,813 9.28% 980,249 1.75%
2001 Ichirō Ozawa 8 6 4,227,148 7.72% 3,011,787 5.54%


  1. ^ Jeff Kingston (2013). Japan in Transformation, 1945-2010. Routledge. p. 19. ISBN 978-1-317-86192-8. 
  2. ^ "Obuchi puts happy face on minority coalition launch". The Japan Times. 1999-01-14. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  3. ^ "Liberal Party left in limbo after abandonment of bill". The Japan Times. 1999-12-15. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  4. ^ "Noda faction names party Conservative". The Japan Times. 2000-04-04. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  5. ^ "The Democratic Party of Japan". Democratic Party of Japan. 2006. Retrieved 2008-09-06. 

See also[edit]