Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)



The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is a conservative party formed in 1955, merging two parties which were then called the Liberal Party (自由党, since 1950) and the Japan Democratic Party (日本民主党, since 1954), in their efforts against the party then called the Japan Socialist Party (日本社会党, 1945-1996), which had recently overcome internal factional conflict. From 1955 to 1993-1934, a period known as the 1955 System, the LDP continuously held a majority in the Diet; the JSP kept at least one third of the Diet seats, with which they prevented the LDP from revising the constitution.

The LDP published a full constitutional draft in 2012, when it was out of power due to the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) gaining a majority of Diet seats in the general election of the House of Representatives in 2009. The LDP took control back at the end of 2012, and the second Abe Cabinet was established. This Abe administration (2012-2020) pushed constitutional revision under the political slogan, “escape from the postwar regime”.

In 2018, the LDP narrowed down its full draft to four points: (1) specification of the Self-Defense Forces’ status, (2) creation of an emergency powers clause, (3) cancellation of "combined districts" of the House of Councillors elections, and (4) enhancement of the education system. The LDP provides information to the public online about the party, its history, and its constitution, as well as news about their political activities, press conferences, and initiatives and projects.

Liberal Democratic Constitutional Reform Promotion Headquarters, LDP (2009-)

The Liberal Democratic Constitutional Reform Promotion Headquarters was established by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in 2009 while constitutional revision became more realistic. The National Referendum Law for constitutional revision was enacted in May 2007 and went into effect in May 2010. This legislation enabled lawmakers to propose and discuss a draft in a Commission on the Constitution in the Diet. Commissions on the Constitution became active in each of the two houses in 2011; the committees in both houses were established in 2007, but the discussion rules were determined in the lower house in 2009, and in the upper house in 2011.

The LDP released a full draft in 2012. Since then, the LDP headquarters has promoted constitutional discussion throughout Japan, aiming to shape national opinions towards its amendment. In 2018, the LDP narrowed their focus on constitutional revision to four key points (see above). The headquarters founded a new constitutional drafting committee, Kenpō Kaisei Genan Kisō Iinkai (憲法改正原案起草委員会) to push constitutional discussion on the four points in 2020. On their website, the LDP headquarters provides news, seminar information, publications, and other related materials.

Kenpō Chōsakai, Kenpō Kaisei Project Team, LDP (2003-2004)

In 2003, the LDP founded a project team for constitutional revision, the Kenpō Chōsakai (Kenpō Kaisei Project Team) of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which is a committee devoted to research on the constitution of Japan. In 2004, this committee submitted a report to summarize its constitutional arguments. The LDP Kenpō Chōsakai provides committee meeting minutes on their website. Links for each meeting present a short summary of proceedings and comments of those in attendance. Each meeting addresses a different topic, such as the Preamble, Diet, Cabinet, judiciary, financial affairs, citizens' rights and responsibilities, prefectural governments, national defense, and the emperor.

In 2004, the LDP founded two new internal commissions: the Committee for Drafting New Constitution (新憲法起草委員会) and the LDP Headquarters for New Constitution (新憲法制定推進本部). This second group was reorganized into the Liberal Democratic Constitutional Reform Promotion Headquarters in 2009.