Governance in Japan

Basic Structure of the Government of Japan

Emperor, diet, cabinet and judiciary are important cogs of governance in Japan. Emperor is still the symbol of Japan. The National Diet, comprising of two houses – the House of Councilorsand the House of Representatives, is the sole law-making organ of the State and the highest organ of state power. Like most parliamentary democracies, executive power is vested in the Cabinet responsible to the parliament (diet). It consists of the Prime Minister and at most 17 Ministers of State (inclusive of ministers without portfolio and the chief cabinet secretary).


The symbol of Japan and of the unity of the people is still the Emperor. Emperor in accordance with the advice and subject to the approval of the Cabinet performs the acts such as the promulgation of amendments of the Constitution, cabinet orders, laws and treaties, the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the convocation of the Diet, the proclamation of general election of members of the Diet and the attestation of the appointment and dismissal of Ministers of State and other officials in accordance to the laws. The Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is also appointed by the Emperor, as designated by the Diet and the Cabinet respectively.


The National Diet, comprising of two houses is the uppermost organ of state power and the solitary law-making organ of the State.The House of Representatives and the House of Councilors are the two houses. Out of 480 members of the House of Representatives 300 are elected from the single-seat constituencies and 180 by the proportional representation system. 242 is the total membership of the House of Councilors, of whom 96 are elected by the proportional representation.


Executive power is in the hands of the Cabinet, which comprises of the PM and at most 17 Ministers of State (inclusive of Ministers without portfolio and the Chief Cabinet Secretary) and is responsible to the Dietcollectively. When the post of PM becomes vacant or when the first session of the Diet is held after a general election of members of the House of Representatives, the Cabinet has to resign en masse. If the House of Representatives rejects a confidence resolution or passes a non-confidence resolution, the Cabinet shall resign en masse, unless the House of Representatives is dissolved within the duration of ten days.


The entire judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court (SC), and in the courts inferior to it such as High Courts, District Courts, Summary Courtsand Family Courts. Establishment of any extraordinary court is not permissible and no organ of the executive can enjoy final judicial power. The Justices of the SC, except the Chief Justice (CJ) who is appointee of the Emperor, are appointed by the Cabinet.

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