Democratic Party of Japan

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The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ; 民主党 Minshutou) was a political party formed in 1998 through the merger of Japanese parties in opposition to the governing Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), including former members of the LDP. It won the 2009 Japanese general election and formed a coalition government with the People's New Party and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) headed by then-DPJ leader Yukio Hatoyama; this broke 55 years of near-continuous government by the LDP. However, the DPJ lost heavily to the LDP in the December 2012 general election.

The DPJ government's alliance with the SDP lasted less than a year due to disagreement over the relocation of a U.S. Military base in Okinawa. The DPJ and SDP had been elected on a pledge to renegotiate a deal to relocate a United States Forces Japan base on the Okinawa Island; moves to situate the base away from the island or outside Japan altogether proved unsuccessful, to the consternation of many local people.[1] This was one of the main factors in Hatoyama's resignation in June 2010.

Hatoyama was succeeded by Naoto Kan, who was unusual in that he did not come from a political dynasty; his leadership was also at loggerheads with the party faction led by former leader Ichiro Ozawa. Kan was unable to win enough party or public support, especially following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, to continue beyond August of that year. That month, his successor Yoshihiko Noda became President of the DPJ and Prime Minister of Japan. Noda continued in office for more than a year, but resigned after losing heavily to the LDP in the December 2012 general election.

On 27th March 2016, the DPJ merged with the Japan Innovation Party to form the Democratic Party (民進党 Minshintou).


  1. Japan Times: 'New accord stokes Okinawan ire'. 29th May 2010.