Liberal Democratic Party
(LDP; Minshutō). Japanese political party. It began as the conservative Liberal party, which, under Yoshida Shigeru, became the dominant political force in Japan following World War II. In 1955 the Liberals merged with the newly created Japan Democratic party. Retaining control of the Japanese government for 38 years, the LDP supported Japan’s alliance with the United States and fostered close links between Japanese business and government. Following charges of corruption in Prime Minister Miyazawa Kiichi's government, it lost its parliamentary majority in the 1993 elections, which put a coalition government in power. In spite of numerous defections by LDP members of parliament over the party’s failure to enact political reform, it remained Japan’s largest political party. Since 1994, when the LDP returned to power, it has been the senior partner in a series of coalition governments. (from The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright © 2001-05 Columbia University Press).
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