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 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.