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Democratic Party of Japan

The Democratic Party of Japan (民主党 Minshuto) is a political party in Japan.

President: Naoto Kan

Secretary General: Katsuya Okada

Diet Membership: House of Representatives: 177; House of Councillors: 59

The Democratic Party of Japan was formed on 27 April 1998. It was an merger of four previously independent parties - a previous Democratic Party, the Good Governance Party (Minseito), the New Fraternity Party (Shinto-yuai), and the Democratic Reform Party (Minshu-Kaikaku-Rengo). The new party began with ninety-three members of the House of Representatives and thirty-eight members of the House of Councillors.

On September 24, 2003, the party formally merged with the Liberal Party led by Ichiro Ozawa, the move largely considered to prepare for the election on November 9, 2003.

On October 22, 2003, in a speech delivered jointly by Party President Naoto Kan and former Liberal Party President Ichiro Ozawa in Okayama, Kan stated: "The LDP (Liberal Democratic Party) should give up the reins of power to the DPJ for once, creating a two-party system that will enable changes of government to take place."

In the elections themselves, the Democrats gained a total of 177 seats. This was short of their objectives, but nevertheless a significant demonstration of the new group's strength. The Democratic Party remains the primary rival of the ruling Liberal Democrats.

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