New Komeito Party (Komeito)



The New Komeito Party (NKP) was formed in 1998 as a result of a merger between two groups, Kōmei (公明) and the New Peace Party (新党平和), both of which were part of the earlier Komeito Party (公明党, 1964-1994). In 1994, the original Komeito split into Kōmei and Kōmei Shintō (公明新党), which joined the New Frontier Party (新進党); the New Peace Party was formed after the New Frontier Party dissolved in 1997. The NKP dropped "New" from its name in 2014. The original Komeito was established in 1961 as a political movement organization, the Clean Government League (公明政治連盟) by the Soka Gakkai, a religious organization based on Nichiren Buddhism, and was founded as a political party in 1964. During the 60s-70s, they occasionally worked with rightist socialists and opposed the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). However, the NKP that resulted in 1998 from a series of splits and reorganizations ultimately joined coalition with the LDP in 1999. They have been characterized as a "centerist" party.

On constitutional revision, the NKP takes the position of strengthening the constitution (加憲). The party holds that Japan should respect the current constitution, especially the three principles – popular sovereignty, permanent pacifism, and fundamental human rights – while making changes to adapt to the new challenges of the 21st century. The party also holds that new rights (such as those regarding environmental rights and privacy) and new concepts regarding local governance should be added. While Komeito has been opposed to Article 9, in 2014, Komeito broadly agreed with the LDP's plan to reinterpret the constitution to allow Japan to exercise its collective right. The party claims that deliberate constitutional discussion is necessary ahead of revision of Article 96, which specifies the process for making amendments; the LDP proposes relaxing the requirements for constitutional amendment by changing the article. The NKP also has established their own research committee on the constitution (憲法調査会), which regularly publishes information on their website about its members and activities.