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Inside Japanese politics

Japan's political parties lose sway under stronger prime ministers

LDP and Komeito see influence ebb as decision-making grows more centralized

Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi, right, and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Komeito, a member of the ruling coalition, is hurrying to build a direct relationship with the prime minister's office.

TOKYO -- Although the prime minister's leadership has grown stronger, Japan's party politics are adrift. The Liberal Democratic Party's Policy Research Council, its policy coordination body where lawmakers from the "policy tribes" once were active, is a shell of its former self. The Komeito party, which joined the LDP to form the ruling coalition in 1999, has also been coordinating less with the LDP itself and focusing more on strengthening its ties with the prime minister's office.

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