New Frontier Party (Japan)

For shinshintō period, see Glossary of Japanese swords.
New Frontier Party
Leader Toshiki Kaifu
Ichirō Ozawa
Founded 10 December 1994
Dissolved 31 December 1997
Merger of
Succeeded by
New Fraternity Party
Voice of the People
New Peace Party
Reimei Club
  • Reform Club
Headquarters Tokyo
Ideology Neoconservatism
Limited government
Political position Centre

The New Frontier Party (新進党 Shinshintō, NFP, lit. "New Progressive Party") was a political party in Japan founded in December 1994. As a merger of several small parties, the party was ideologically diverse , with its membership ranging from moderate social democrats to liberals and conservatives. The party dissolved in December 1997, with Ichirō Ozawa's faction forming the Liberal Party and other splinters later joining the Democratic Party of Japan in April 1998.[1]



The party was founded on 10 December 1994 by former member parties of the anti-Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) opposition coalition led by Morihiro Hosokawa who had resigned in April. During the formation of the succeeding Hata cabinet, several coalition parties formed a joint parliamentary group. But at the same time, the Japan Socialist Party (JSP) and the New Party Sakigake withdrew from the eight-party coalition and left Hata without majority. In June, the LDP returned to power by striking a "grand" coalition deal with the JSP under which the Socialists would receive the prime ministership. Hata resigned before an impending no-confidence vote submitted by the LDP: In less than a year, the anti-LDP coalition had broken down. After the electoral reform initiated by the anti-LDP coalition had been passed by the new LDP-JSP coalition in November 1994, the opposition parties negotiated on creating a unified force to contest the newly introduced First-past-the-post voting single-member electoral districts that now elect the majority of the House of Representatives: In December, the Japan Renewal Party, a part of Kōmeitō which had split a few days before, the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), the Japan New Party and the Jiyū Kaikaku Rengō ("Liberal Reform League" a federation of several small groups of Diet members who had broken away from the LDP) formed the New Frontier Party, becoming the largest single party formed in post-war Japan other than the LDP.[1]

Internal conflicts

On 8 December 1994, the Diet members of the future party elected former LDP Prime Minister Toshiki Kaifu as leader, Kaifu received 131 votes, former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata 52 and DSP leader Takashi Yonezawa 32 votes. In 1995, Kaifu was succeeded by Ichirō Ozawa who led the party from 1995 until its dissolution in 1997. Ozawa won the leadership election among party members and registered supporters (tōyū) in December 1995 with 1,120,012 votes against Tsutomu Hata who received 566,998 votes.[2] Ozawa was reelected just a few days before the party dissolved in a vote among NFP Diet members and delegates from NFP prefectural federations in December 1997, defeating Michihiko Kano by 230 votes to 182.[3]

The party won 156 seats in the 1996 general election, becoming the largest opposition party.[4]

Dissolution and aftermath

After the New Frontier Party dissolved in 1997, its remnants collated into several small parties:[5]

The latter two parties immediately joined the Democratic Party in one parliamentary group (then renamed 民主友愛太陽国民連合, Minshu Yūai Taiyō Kokumin Rengō, "Democratic Fraternity Sun People's League", abbreviated as 民友連, Min'yūren). They were joined by two parties who had broken away from the NFP earlier – the Sun Party of Tsutomu Hata in 1996 and the From Five of Morihiro Hosokawa in 1997 – and another party from the former anti-LDP coalition that hadn't joined the NFP: the Minshu Kaikaku Rengō ("Democratic Reform League"). The joint parliamentary group gave the DPJ the role of leading the opposition in the Diet. Three member parties together formed the Minseitō ("Democratic" or "Good Governance Party") a few weeks later. All member parties of the parliamentary group eventually merged with the Democratic Party to form the ("New") Democratic Party of Japan in April 1998.[6][7][8]


In terms of policy, the New Frontier Party took a hawkish position on foreign, security policy and related constitutional matters (which had been the main dividing line between political left and right in the 1955 System) similar to the LDP, but pushed for more deregulation, decentralization and political reform. It thereby tried to attract disgruntled LDP voters who would seek for new answers to the political challenges posed in the wake of the burst bubble economy and by the dawning demographic transition. In contrast, the Democratic Party of Japan that was formed two years later to provide an alternative to the old LDP and the Ozawa-dominated NFP, took a similar stance to the NFP on economic reform, but a more dovish position on foreign policy, thereby also becoming appealing to traditional JSP voters.[9]

Presidents of NFP

No. Name Term of office Image
Took Office Left Office
1 Toshiki Kaifu
海部 俊樹
Kaifu Toshiki
8 December 1994 28 December 1995
2 Ichirō Ozawa
小沢 一郎
Ozawa Ichirō
28 December 1995 18 December 1997
18 December 1997 31 December 1997

Election results

General election results

Election Leader # of candidates # of seats won # of Constituency votes % of Constituency vote # of PR Block votes % of PR Block vote
1996 Ichirō Ozawa 500 156 15,812,326 27.97% 15,580,053 28.04%

Councillors election results

Election Leader # of seats total # of seats won # of National votes % of National vote # of Prefectural votes % of Prefectural vote
1995 Toshiki Kaifu 57 40 12,506,322 30.75% 11,003,681 26.47%

See also


  1. 1 2 Gerald L. Curtis (2013). The Logic of Japanese Politics: Leaders, Institutions, and the Limits of Change. Columbia University Press. pp. 192–194. ISBN 978-0-231-50254-2.
  2. Los Angeles Times, December 28, 1995: Veteran Kingmaker to Lead Japan's Opposition : Politics: Ichiro Ozawa defeats rival 2 to 1 in nationwide New Frontier Party primary. Victory makes him top contender for next prime minister
  3. The Japan Times, December 18, 1997: Ozawa wins re-election as Shinshinto president
  4. Pradyumna P. Karan (2010). Japan in the 21st Century: Environment, Economy, and Society. University Press of Kentucky. p. 292. ISBN 0-8131-3777-2.
  5. Tun-Jen Cheng, Deborah A. Brown Religious Organizations And Democratization: Case Studies 2006 Page 279 "The demise of the Shinshinto into a variety of new splinter parties, including a revived Komeito (now called "New Komeito"), and increasing public dissatisfaction with the LDP-created political chaos. This situation was compounded by the ..."
  6. The Japan Times, March 8, 1998: Hosokawa backs merger under DPJ
  7. The Japan Times, March 16, 1998: Minyuren panel works to write up new DPJ's platform
  8. The Japan Times, April 7, 1998: Executive leaders of new DPJ chosen
  9. Leonard J. Schoppa (2011). The Evolution of Japan's Party System: Politics and Policy in an Era of Institutional Change. University of Toronto Press. Chapter 2, pp. 14–42: Path Dependence in the Evolution of Japan's Party System since 1993.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/23/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.