Liberal Democratic Party

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  • Contemporary History (Post 1945)
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(Japan) Japanese political party that has been the dominant party since World War II. Political alignments were slow to coalesce in post‐war Japan, but in 1955 rival conservative groups combined to form the Liberal Democratic Party, which succeeded in holding power continuously until 1993. The Party's early leaders included Kishi Nobusuke, his brother Sato Eisaku, and Tanaka Kakuei, who was forced to resign in 1974 as a result of a bribery scandal. Four leaders followed Kakuei in the space of eight years as the party's fortunes waned before some degree of recovery was achieved under the forceful leadership of Nakasone Yasuhiro, who served as Prime Minister and LDP President from 1982 to 1987. The party developed close links with business and with interest groups such as fisheries and agriculture. A key feature has been its structure of internal factions, less concerned with policy than with patronage, electoral funding, and competition for party leadership. The party has also been involved in numerous financial and sexual scandals. Even so, it continued to appeal to a wide range of the electorate. The future of the party was threatened in 1992 by divisions arising from the uncovering of a further series of financial scandals. The LDP government lost a vote of confidence in 1993, lost the subsequent general election, and was ousted from office for the first time in its history. Two coalition governments collapsed and in 1994 the LDP joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Japan and the Sakigake Party to form a coalition government. The SDP disbanded and the LDP formed a new coalition in 1996 and again in 1999, 2003, and 2005.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — World History.

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