Gerald L. Curtis :: One of the features
of Japanese politics that is very important is that the major political
parties, especially the most powerful political party, the Liberal Democratic
Party, is composed of factions.
Factions are organizations, real organizations, around a particular
leader. One can go visit a faction's headquarters in Tokyo: they have
offices; they have publications; they have name lists of their members.
So, it's not simply a matter of people who are in general agreement on
some policy or generally identified as being in the center or more liberal
or more conservative. These are formal organizations of politicians within
the political parties, especially within the Liberal Democratic Party.
Factions originated in the "55 system," the system that emerged
in 1955 when the Liberal Democratic Party and the Socialist Party were