|Japanese name||Nihon Shakai-t?|
|Founded||November 2, 1945|
|Dissolved||January 19, 1996|
|Succeeded by||Social Democratic Party (Japan)|
|Headquarters||Social & Cultural Center 1-8-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo|
|International affiliation||Socialist International|
The party is founded by members of several former proletariat parties that existed before WWII including the Social Mass Party, the Labour-Farmer Party and Japan Labour-Farmer Party by 1945. In the 1940s, JSP was shortly in power from 1947 to 1948. From 1951 to 1955, the JSP was once divided into the "Leftist Socialist Party" () and the "Rightist Socialist Party" (). In the same year, the two major conservative parties in Japan merged into the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), a system called "1955 System" (55) was established in Japan. Under the 1955 System, the LDP was continuously in power and the JSP, as the largest opposition party, was incapable of forming an alternative. On the other hand, during this period, JSP could hold around 1/3 seats in the National Diet to prevent LDP amending the Constitution of Japan.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, under the leadership of Takako Doi, JSP earned a record-high number of seats. However, from the middle 1990s, shocked by the establishments of new conservative parties, the seats of JSP in the National Diet decreased significantly. Finally, JSP dissolved on January 19, 1996. The successor of JSP is the Social Democratic Party, which is a minor party only holding four representatives in the National Diet in 2020.
Socialist and social-democratic parties have been active in Japan under various names since the early 20th century, often suffering harsh government repression as well as ideological dissensions and splits.
The party was originally known as the Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ) in English and was formed in 1945 following the fall of the militarist regime that had led Japan into World War II. At the time, there was serious conflict inside the party between factions of the right and the left and the party's official name in English became the Japanese Socialist Party (JSP) as the left-wing had advocated. The right had wanted to use the older SDPJ.
The party became the largest political party in the first general election under the Constitution of Japan in 1947 (143 of 466 seats) and a government was formed by Tetsu Katayama, forming a coalition with the Democratic Party and the Citizens' Cooperation Party. However, the Katayama government collapsed due to the rebellion of communists in the party. The party continued the coalition with the Democrats under Prime Minister Hitoshi Ashida; but the cabinet was engulfed by the Sh?wa Denk? scandal, the largest corruption scandal during the occupation, allowing Shigeru Yoshida and the Liberal Party to return to government. In the period following the end of World War II, the Socialists played a key role in the drafting of the new Japanese constitution, adding progressive articles related to issues such as health, welfare and working conditions.
The party was split in 1950-1951 into the Rightist Socialist Party, consisting of socialists who leaned more to the political centre; and the Leftist Socialist Party, formed by hardline left-wingers and socialists. The faction farthest to the left formed a small independent party, the Workers and Farmers Party, espousing Maoism from 1948 to 1957. The two socialist parties were merged in 1955 and joined the Socialist International that year.
The new opposition party had its own factions, although organised according to left-right ideological beliefs rather than what it called the feudal personalism of the conservative parties. In the 1958 general election, the party gained 32.9 percent of the popular vote and 166 out of 467 seats. This was enough result to block the attempt of constitutional amendment by the Kishi Nobusuke-led government.
However, the party was again split in 1960 because of internal conflicts and the assassination of Inejiro Asanuma and the breakaway group (a part of the old Right Socialist Party of Japan, their most moderate faction) created the Democratic Socialist Party, although the party was preserved. After that, the party's percentage of the popular vote and number of seats gradually declined. However, the party performed well on a local level and by the 1970s many areas were run by SDPJ mayors and governors (including those who were endorsed by the SDPJ), who introduced new social programmes.
In the double election of July 1986 for both Diet houses, the party suffered a rout by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) under Yasuhiro Nakasone and its seats in the lower house fell from 112 to an all-time low of eighty-five and its share of the vote from 19.5 percent to 17.2 percent. Nonetheless, its popular chairwoman Takako Doi led it to an impressive showing in the 1990 general election, with 136 seats and 24.4 percent of the vote. Some electoral districts had more than one successful socialist candidate. Doi's decision to put up more than one candidate for each of the 130 districts represented a controversial break with the past because unlike their LDP counterparts many party candidates did not want to run against each other. However, the great majority of the 149 socialist candidates who ran were successful, including seven of eight women.
Doi, a university professor of constitutional law before entering politics, had a tough, straight-talking manner that appealed to voters tired of the evasiveness of other politicians. Many women found her a refreshing alternative to submissive female stereotypes and in the late 1980s the public at large in opinion polls voted her their favorite politician (the runner-up in these surveys was equally tough-talking conservative LDP member Shintar? Ishihara). However, Doi's popularity was of limited aid to the party. The powerful Shakaishugi Kyokai (Japan Socialist Association) which was supported by a hardcore contingent of the party's 76,000-strong membership remained committed to doctrinaire Marxism, impeding Doi's efforts to promote what she called perestroika and a more moderate program with greater voter appeal.
In 1983, Doi's predecessor as chairman Masashi Ishibashi began the delicate process of moving the party away from its strong opposition to the Self-Defense Forces. While maintaining that these forces were unconstitutional in light of Article 9, he claimed that because they had been established through legal procedures, they had a legitimate status (this phrasing was changed a year later to say that the Self-Defense Forces exist legally). Ishibashi also broke past precedent by visiting Washington to talk with United States political leaders.
By the end of the decade, the party had accepted the Self-Defense Forces and the 1960 Japan-United States Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. It advocated strict limitations on military spending (no more than 1 percent of GNP annually), a suspension of joint military exercises with United States forces and a reaffirmation of the three non-nuclear principles (no production, possession, or introduction of nuclear weapons into Japanese territory). Doi expressed support for balanced ties with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). In the past, the party had favored the Kim Il-sung regime in Pyongyang and in the early 1990s it still refused to recognize the 1965 normalization of relations between Tokyo and Seoul. In domestic policy, the party demanded the continued protection of agriculture and small business in the face of foreign pressure, abolition of the consumption tax and an end to the construction and use of nuclear power reactors. As a symbolic gesture to reflect its new moderation, the party dropped its commitment to socialist revolution at its April 1990 convention and described its goal as social democracy, the creation of a society in which "all people fairly enjoy the fruits of technological advancement and modern civilization and receive the benefits of social welfare". Delegates also elected Doi to a third term as party chairwoman.
Because of the party's self-definition as a class-based party and its symbiotic relationship with the General Council of Trade Unions of Japan (S?hy?), the public-sector workers' confederation, few efforts were made to attract non-union constituencies. Although some S?hy? unions supported the Japanese Communist Party, the party remained the representative of Sohyo's political interests until the merger with private-sector unions and the Japanese Trade Union Confederation (Reng?) in 1989. Because of declining union financial support during the 1980s, some party Diet members turned to dubious fund-raising methods. One was involved in the Recruit affair. Like other parties, it sold large blocks of fund-raising party tickets and the LDP even gave individual party Diet members funds from time to time to persuade them to cooperate in passing difficult legislation.
The party acquired seventy seats (down from 137) in the 1993 general election while the LDP lost its majority in the lower house for the first time since the 1983 general election and was out of government for the first time in 38 years. The anti-LDP coalition government of Morihiro Hosokawa was formed by reformists who had triggered the 1993 election by leaving the LDP (Japan Renewal Party and New Party Sakigake), a liberal party formed only a year before (Japan New Party), the traditional centre-left opposition (K?meit?, Democratic Socialist Party and Socialist Democratic Federation) and the Democratic Reform Party, the political arm of the Reng? trade union federation, together with the JSP. In 1994, the JSP and the New Sakigake Party decided to leave the non-LDP coalition. The minority Hata cabinet lasted only a few weeks. The JSP then formed a grand coalition (dai-renritsu) government with the LDP and the New Party Sakigake under Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, leader of the party from 1993 to 1996. Most of the other parties from the anti-LDP coalition forced back into opposition, united to form the New Frontier Party (NFP) and overtaking the JSP as second largest political party in Japan. The JSP lost in the 1995 House of Councillors election.
In January 1996, the New Socialist Party of Japan split off, Murayama resigned as Prime Minister and the JSP changed its name from the JSP to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) as an interim party for forming a new party.
The so-called "lefists" in the JSP were Marxists in favour of scientific socialism. By contrast, the so-called "rightists" were in favour of the Social Democracy and they aimed at establishing a welfare state.
|No.||Photo||Name||Term of office|
|Took office||Left office|
|Chair of the Social Democratic Party of Japan|
|1||Tetsu Katayama||28 September 1946||16 January 1950|
|Chair of the Social Democratic Party of Japan (Rightist)|
|--||J?tar? Kawakami||19 January 1951||12 October 1955|
|Chair of the Japanese Socialist Party (Leftist)|
|--||Suzuki Mosabur?||18 January 1951||12 October 1955|
|Chair of the Social Democratic Party of Japan (Unified)|
|2||Suzuki Mosabur?||12 October 1955||23 March 1960|
|3||Inejiro Asanuma||23 March 1960||12 October 1960 (assassinated)|
|12 October 1960||6 March 1961|
|4||J?tar? Kawakami||6 March 1961||6 May 1965|
|5||Kouzou Sasaki||6 May 1965||19 August 1965|
|6||Seiichi Katsumata||19 August 1965||4 October 1968|
|7||Tomomi Narita||30 November 1968||26 September 1977|
|8||Ichio Asukata||13 December 1977||7 September 1983|
|9||Masashi Ishibashi||7 September 1983||8 September 1986|
|10||Takako Doi||9 September 1986||31 July 1991|
|11||Makoto Tanabe||31 July 1991||19 January 1993|
|12||Sadao Yamahana||19 January 1993||25 September 1993|
|13||Tomiichi Murayama||25 September 1993||19 January 1996|
PR block votes
PR block votes
|Japan Socialist Party era|
|1993||Sadao Yamahana||9,687,588||15.4||Eight-party coalition (1993-1994)|
|LDP-JSP-NPS coalition (1994-1996)|
Japan Tokyo governor minobe free health care.