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The Liberal Party (自由党, Jiyū-tō) was a political party in Japan that merged with the Democratic Party for the People on 26 April 2019.[1] It had 2 out of the 475 seats in the House of Representatives, and 3 in the 242-member House of Councillors prior to merging. Formed as the People's Life Party in December 2012, it changed its name to People's Life Party & Taro Yamamoto and Friends in December 2014. The party adopted the name Liberal Party in October 2016 in preparation for an expected general election in early 2017.[5]

Liberal Party

LeaderIchirō Ozawa
PresidentIchirō Ozawa
Secretary-GeneralKatsumasa Suzuki
Councilors leaderRyo Shuhama
Representatives leaderDenny Tamaki
Founded27 December 2012 (2012-12-27)
Dissolved27 April 2019 (2019-04-27)[1]
Split fromTomorrow Party of Japan
Preceded byPeople's Life First
Merged intoDemocratic Party for the People[1]
Headquarters2-12-8 Nagatacho
Chiyoda, Tokyo
IdeologySocial liberalism[2]
Anti-nuclear power[2]
Political positionCentre to centre-left
Colors     Blue
0 / 242
0 / 475




The party's foundation lay in the wake of the December 2012 general election, in which the Tomorrow Party of Japan's membership in the 480-seat House of Representatives was reduced from 61 members to just 9. Tension between President Yukiko Kada and former People's Life First party leader Ichirō Ozawa increased to the point that on 26 December 2012 the party's remaining Diet members that were aligned with Ozawa held a meeting in spite of Kada's instruction not to do so.[6] Members aligned with Kada announced their intention to leave the party and the following day Kada and Ozawa agreed to split the party, just one month after it had formed. The majority of the remaining members sided with Ozawa and the party's name was changed to the People's Life Party (生活の党, Seikatsu-no-tō), with the Tomorrow Party's Deputy President Yuko Mori named as the new party's President.[7]

Merger with Taro YamamotoEdit

The party changed its name to People's Life Party & Taro Yamamoto and Friends in December 2014. The name change was apparently imposed by Yamamoto Tarō as a condition for keeping the party from disbanding.[8]

July 2016 House of Councillors electionEdit

In October 2015 the party expressed the need for the opposition to coordinate in order to overthrow the Abe government, which it sees as a threat to peace and democracy.[9] It specifically outlined a strategy for the 2016 House of Councillors election, similar to the Italian coalition the Olive Tree, where each party keeps its members and identity, while fighting elections under the same banner. During the nomination period for the July 2016 election, the party signed an agreement with the Democratic, Communist and Social Democratic parties to field a jointly-endorsed candidate in each of the 32 districts in which only one seat is contested, uniting in an attempt to take control of the House from the Liberal Democratic Party/Komeito coalition.[10]

Two of the party's three councillors, Ryo Shuhama and Ryoko Tani, announced their intention to retire when their terms expired in July 2016. In April 2016 Shuhama cited the need to care for a seriously ill family member as his reason for not seeking a third term in office.[11] Tani was approached by several parties in the lead up to the election, but Ozawa demanded she remain with the party, as her defection would have meant the party fell below the minimum requirement of five Diet members and lost its official party status. In June 2016 Tani announced her decision to remain with the party until the election, but not seek a second term.[12]

In addition to the independent candidates endorsed by the party subject to the agreement with the other opposition parties, the People's Life Party nominated five candidates for the 48-seat national proportional representation block.[13] The party's number one candidate was Ai Aoki, who had previously served a partial term in the House of Councillors and three terms in the House of Representatives. Former Nagasaki Prefectural Assembly member Seiichi Suetsugu was third on the party's ballot and former councillor Yumiko Himei was listed fourth.[14]

Party member and former Iwate Prefectural Assembly member Eiji Kidoguchi [ja] won in the Iwate at-large district as an opposition-backed independent candidate and confirmed he would join the party's Diet group shortly after the election.[15] In the National Block the party received 1.9% of the vote, entitling it to one of the 48 seats being contested. Aoki received 68.9% of the votes cast for the party's five candidates, meaning she was awarded the party's seat.[16] The two seats won meant the party retained the five members necessary to maintain official party status within the Diet.

Former party president Yuko Mori also won as an opposition-backed independent candidate in the Niigata at-large district, which she had previously represented for two terms from 2001 until 2013.[17] However, despite being a member of the party, she chose to sit in the House as an independent.[15] When announcing her decision two weeks after the election, Mori's reasons included the fact that she campaigned as an independent, and also that she had signed an agreement with a citizens' group in which she promised to sit as an independent "for the time being", however she could not specify how long that would be.[15]

Liberal Party (October 2016 – April 2019)Edit

In October 2016 the party was rebranded as the Liberal Party in preparation for an expected general election in early 2017.[5] However, the two Liberal Party MPs resolved to run as independents, eventually retaining their seats as an informal bloc in the 2017 election.[citation needed]

The party merged into the Democratic Party for the People in April 2019.[1]

Party presidentsEdit

No. Name Term of office
Took Office Left Office
Preceding party: Tomorrow Party
1 Yuko Mori 27 December 2012 25 January 2013
2 Ichirō Ozawa 25 January 2013 27 April 2019

Diet membersEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Kyodo, Jiji (26 April 2019). "Democratic Party for the People, Japan's second-largest opposition force, absorbs Ozawa's Liberals". The Japan Times. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d "Four core policies (in English)".
  3. ^ "Political Principles (in English)".
  4. ^ "On the importance of a robust Japan-Republic of Korea relationship to the peace of East Asia (in English)".
  5. ^ a b Yoshida, Reiji (13 October 2016). "Liberal Party is reborn in Seikatsu no To rebranding ahead of possible election". Japan Times. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  6. ^ "首相指名、未来小沢系は森裕子氏に投票 嘉田代表の中止命令無視" [Tomorrow Party Ozawa faction nominate Yuko Mori for PM, ignore President Kada's cancel instruction]. Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). 26 December 2012. Archived from the original on 8 January 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  7. ^ "「日本未来」が分党決定 わずか1カ月で分裂" ["Tomorrow Party" decides to split, just one month old]. Sankei Shimbun (in Japanese). 28 December 2012. Archived from the original on 7 January 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Opposition parties, activists ink policy pact for Upper House election". Japan Times. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  11. ^ "主浜氏の引退表明「タイミング悪すぎ」地元野党" [Shuhama announces retirement "Timing is too bad"] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  12. ^ "谷亮子氏、党にとどまり参院選立候補を断念" [Ryoko Tani to remain with party, not contest Councillors election] (in Japanese). 22 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  13. ^ "第3極衰退で候補者減、タレント候補10人に" [Fewer candidates with the demise of the third pole - 10 celebrity candidates] (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  14. ^ "候補者 比例代表・生活の党と山本太郎となかまたち(生活)【参議院選挙2016】" [Candidates, national proportional representation block - People's Life Party (House of Councillors election 2016)] (in Japanese). Retrieved 24 June 2016.
  15. ^ a b c "森氏 無所属で活動 生活の党籍は維持" [Mori to sit as independent, maintain People's Life Party membership]. The Niigata Nippo (in Japanese). 25 July 2016. Archived from the original on 26 July 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  16. ^ "開票結果・速報 比例代表・生活の党と山本太郎となかまたち(生活)【参議院選挙2016】" [Results: National Block – People's Life Party [House of Councillors Election 2016]]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). 12 July 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  17. ^ "森 ゆうこ(もり ゆうこ)" [Yuko Mori] (in Japanese). House of Councillors. Retrieved 17 October 2016.

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