Conservative parties have ruled Japan for all but nine months since 1945. Since the conservative Liberal and Democratic parties merged to form the Liberal Democratic Party in 1955, the LDP has continually ruled Japan. Although frequently described as neither liberal, democratic, nor a party, the LDP has been overwhelmingly successful in performing a political party’s central role of aggregating the support of related interest groups into a winning electoral combination, and then representing their interests through government policies. The LDP has two interrelated power bases: a virtually impregnable electoral base built on agricultural and small- and medium-sized business support, and a vast sea of finance from the corporate world. Corporate money is channeled to key voting blocks which continue to re-elect the LDP to office, enabling them to continue pushing the growth policies that benefit all. Within the LDP, powerful political patrons rather than issues bind the half dozen factions that constantly compete for plum positions in the Cabinet or party. This balance of power among the factions prevents any one-man rule while ensuring the widest representation of party interests.
KeywordsPrime Minister Liberal Democratic Party Opposition Parti Liberal Party Socialist Party
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