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New Clean Government Party

 

New Clean Government Party

New Komeito
公明党

Kōmeitō
President Natsuo Yamaguchi
Secretary-General Yoshihisa Inoue
Councillors leader Kazuyoshi Shirahama
Founded 7 November 1998
Merger of Kōmei
New Peace Party
Reform Club
Headquarters 17 Minamimoto-machi, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0012
Ideology
Political position Centre[1]
Representatives
Councillors
Prefectural assembly members[2]
Municipal assembly members[2]
Website
www.komei.or.jp
Politics of Japan
Political parties
Elections

The New Komeito (公明党 Kōmeitō?), New Kōmei Party, or NKP is a political party in Japan founded by members of the Nichiren Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai.[3] The leadership and financing of the two groups are currently self-proclaimed to be independent, however an official 2008 Soka Gakkai International (SGI) press release stated "official liaison meetings between New Komeito and the Soka Gakkai are held at least twice a year."[4][5] Also, the vast majority of party members are also members of Soka Gakkai and many Soka Gakkai members support NKP especially during election campaigns.[6]

The three kanji characters 公明党 have the approximate meanings of "public/government" (公 kō), "light/brightness" (明 mei), and "political party" (党 tō). The combination "kōmei" (公明) is usually taken to mean "justice or fairness". The word "New" is not a part of the Japanese name, but is used in English to distinguish the party from its predecessor. The NKP was formed as a result of a merger between the Kōmeitō and the New Peace Party on November 7, 1998.

After the 2012 general election the party held 31 seats in the lower house and 19 seats in the upper house.

Platform

NKP's declared mission is to pioneer "people-centered politics, a politics based on a humanitarianism that treats human life with the utmost respect and care".[7] Domestically, the party proposals include reduction of the central government and bureaucracy, increased transparency in public affairs, and increased local (prefectural) autonomy with the private sector playing an increased role. With regard to foreign policy, the NKP wishes to eliminate nuclear arms and armed conflict in general. In so doing, it hopes to bring about the "dawn of a new civilization of mankind". Although most of the NKP politicians and core supporters are Soka Gakkai members, NKP platform scarcely remarks on religious issues.

History

Predecessors

New Komeito's predecessor party Kōmeitō was formed in 1954. In 1957, the party was penalized in Osaka for bribing voters with money and tobacco. In 1968, fourteen of its members were convicted of forging absentee ballots in Shinjuku, and eight were sentenced to prison for electoral fraud. In the 1960s it was widely criticized for violating the separation of church and state, and in February 1970 all three major Japanese newspapers printed editorials demanding that the party reorganize. It eventually broke apart based on promises to segregate from Soka Gakkai.[8][9][10]

Kōmeitō joined the Hosokawa and Hata anti-LDP coalition cabinets in 1993 and 1994. After the collapse of the anti-LDP governments and the electoral and campaign finance reforms of 1994, the Kōmeitō split in December 1994: The "New Kōmei Party" (公明新党 Kōmei Shintō?) joined the New Frontier Party (NFP) a few days later in an attempt to unify the splintered opposition.[11] The other group, Kōmei (公明?), continued to exist as a separate party. After the dissolution of the NFP in December 1997, former Kōmeitō members from the NFP founded two new groups: the "New Peace Party" (新党平和 Shintō Heiwa?) and the Reimei Club (黎明クラブ?, "Dawn Club") in the House of Councillors, but some ex-Kōmeitō politicians such as Shōzō Azuma followed Ichirō Ozawa into the Liberal Party. The Reimei Club merged into the New Peace Party a few weeks later in January 1998. Finally, in November 1998, Kōmei and New Peace Party merged to re-establish Kōmeitō (referred to in English now as "New Komeito" – the party's name is just Kōmeitō as before the 1994 split).

Current party

The current conservative, more moderate, party was formed in 1998, in a merger of Kōmei and the New Peace Party. It supported the ruling LDP (Liberal Democratic Party), and did well in the 2000 and 2001 parliamentary elections.[12]

In the 2003 and 2004 Diet elections, the NKP did well, thanks to an extremely committed and well organized voter base coming from Soka Gakkai. The party shares its support base with the LDP, made up of white collar bureaucrats and rural populations, but also gains support from religious leaders. However, on 27 July 2005, NKP's Secretary General said that his party would consider forming a coalition government with the DPJ (Democratic Party of Japan) if, in a snap election, the DPJ gained a majority in the House of Representatives. On 8 August 2005, then-Prime Minister of Japan Junichiro Koizumi dissolved the Lower House and called for a general election, due to the rejection of efforts to privatize Japan Post. The opportunity for a NKP–DPJ coalition did not arise, as the LDP won a large majority in the 2005 general election.

Natsuo Yamaguchi became the party's leader on 8 September 2009 after the party suffered a major defeat in the Japanese general election, 2009 and became an opposition party. New Komeito lost ten seats, including that of party leader Akihiro Ota and general secretary Kazuo Kitagawa. On 8 September 2009, Yamaguchi replaced Ota as president of New Komeito.[13]

Presidents of NKP

No. Name Term of office Image
Took office Left office
1 Takenori Kanzaki 7 November 1998 30 September 2006 100px
2 Akihiro Ota 30 September 2006 8 September 2009
3 Natsuo Yamaguchi 8 September 2009 Incumbent

See also

Literature

References

External links

  • New Komeito official website
  • New Komeito official English website
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