Japan Table of Contents
Following the July 1993 House of Representatives election, the Komeito (the euphemistic English translation of the Japanese name is Clean Government Party) held fifty-one seats in the House of Representatives and joined the Hosokawa coalition. The Komeito was an offshoot of the Soka Gakkai, which had been founded in 1930 as an independent lay organization of the Nichiren Shoshu sect of Buddhism, whose numbers were estimated at 750,000 in 1958 and more than 35 million in the late 1980s. In 1962 the Soka Gakkai, established the League for Clean Government, which became a regular political party, the Komeito, two years later. Ties between the Komeito and the Soka Gakkai were formally dissolved in 1970, and the image of an "open party" was promoted. But the resignation in 1989 of a Komeito Diet member, Ohashi Toshio, following his criticism of the religious leader Ikeda Daisaku, suggested that the Soka Gakkai's influence over the party remained substantial.
The party's supporters tended to be people who were largely outside the privileged labor union and "salarymen" circles of lifetime employment in large enterprises. The Komeito's programs were rather vague. They emphasized welfare and quality of life issues. In foreign policy, they had dropped their previous opposition to the Japan-United States security treaty and the SelfDefense Forces. Komeito made up a substantial portion of Hosokawa's coalition government in 1993.
Data as of January 1994