Earlier this month, after announcing that it would distribute ¥300,000 in cash to households that have lost a lot of income due to the coronavirus crisis, the government switched tack. In a highly unusual move, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that, instead, it was going to distribute ¥100,000 per person regardless of income. The initiative came at the strong request of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's junior coalition partner Komeito, and highlighted the tensions in an alliance now more than 20 years old.

What is Komeito’s basic policy platform and what are some major differences with the Liberal Democratic Party?

Komeito was formed in 1964 as a nominally independent political party by the Nichiren Buddhist lay movement Soka Gakkai. Today, it has 57 members in the Diet. The party’s supporters are traditionally lower and lower-middle class workers, and Komeito has positioned itself as the party of pacifism, social welfare and humanistic socialism.