Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ)


(1996-1998), (1998-2016)

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) was jointly founded in 1996 by several pre-existing parties that were all founded after the 1955 System collapsed in 1993-94. These parties distinguished themselves from the two large parties under the 1955 System: the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Japan Socialist Party (日本社会党). They also clearly distinguished their ideals from communism. Although DPJ members were bonded by anti-LDP traits, some had their ideological roots in “conservative” parties, including the LDP, while others had roots in “liberal” parties, such as the Social Democratic Party (社会民主党), which had been called the Japan Socialist Party until 1996. As a result, they experienced internal disagreements over security issues.

After its landslide victory in the general election in August 2009, the DPJ governed Japan between 2009 and 2012. As internal disunity became more serious, the LDP was completely defeated in the 2012 general election and lost power. In 2016, the DPJ joined the Japan Innovation Party (維新の党) to form the Democratic Party (民進党).

The "Kenpō/-Hōmu" page of the DPJ website stores the DPJ's reports and statements related to the constitution and other legal judicial affairs. In 2005, the DPJ published a constitutional proposal as a result of constitutional discussion inside of the party in the past five years. Aiming to develop the current constitution and formulate a new constitutional plan, the DPJ featured new human rights concepts regarding access to public information, environmental protection and bioethics. For security, the proposal argued that strict restrictions should prevent the government from arbitrarily extending the definition of the right to exercise self-defense and should make Japan’s role clear as a contributor for international society, especially in the “human security” sphere. In August 2015, the DPJ released a statement to oppose the security bills that the Abe administration was pushing, which would allow Japan to exercise its collective self-defense right.