What Type Of Government Does Japan Have?

The Diet Building in Tokyo.
The Diet Building in Tokyo.

Japan's government is a constitutional monarchy where the Emperor's power is limited to mainly ceremonial duties. The government has three branches: the executive, legislature, and the judiciary. The Emperor is the Head of State and the imperial family. His position does not influence the activities of the government in any way. The prime minister, therefore, is the head of the Government. The Japanese constitution was adopted in 1947, and it has not been amended since it was enacted.

The Executive Branch Of The Government Of Japan

The executive branch of the Japanese Government consists of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers. The Prime Minister is the head of both the executive branch and the Cabinet. The legislature nominates him to serve for a term of four years. He is responsible for controlling and supervising the activities of the executive branch and is also the head of Japan's self-defense forces. He presents the bill to the legislature, signs laws and can declare a state of emergency.

The Cabinet includes the Ministers of State whom the prime minister appoints or dismisses. According to the law, the number of these ministers should not exceed fourteen, and can only increase to nineteen under exceptional circumstances. The cabinet can resign if the Diet's House of Representatives cast a vote of no confidence or if the Prime Minister's post is vacant. It is responsible for conducting the affairs of the state, manages foreign affairs, concludes treaties, administers civil service, and prepares the budget.

The Legislative Branch Of The Government Of Japan

The legislative branch is the National Diet. It is a bicameral organ comprising of the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors. The constitution endorses it as the highest organ of the State power and the sole law-making organ in the country. Its functions include drafting laws, approving the national budget, approving conclusion of treaties, and selecting the Prime Minister. It can also amend the Constitution by drafting the changes and presenting them to the people for approval. The houses can conduct investigations about the government, demand the presence of witnesses, produce records, and ask the Prime Minister and other ministers to give explanations regarding the affairs of the State.

Judiciary Of Japan

The judicial branch of the Japanese Government consists of the Supreme Court, the high courts, district courts, family courts, and summary courts. It is independent of the legislature and the executive branches. The justice of the Supreme Court can be dismissed through a referendum which takes place during the general election of the members of the House of Representatives and the first general election for every ten years lapse after that. The Emperor appoints the Chief Justice while the cabinet appoints the other court judges in the presence of the emperor.

Local Government Of Japan

Japan has 47 administrative divisions which include one metropolitan district, two urban prefectures, 43 rural prefectures, and one district. The main cities are subdivided into wards then further split into towns, precincts, and counties. Each precinct has its mayor and assembly. Villages are the smallest units and their mayors serve for a term of four years. Each jurisdiction has a governor or mayor in the municipalities. There is a separation of power in the local government, and the Assembly can dismiss the Cabinet via a vote of no confidence and can stipulate laws called local ordinances or regulations. The local governments also have other committees like the school boards, personnel committees, and auditing committees.

Elections In Japan

Japan has three types of elections general election to the House of Representatives held every four years, elections of the House of Councilors held every three years, and local elections held every four years in the prefabs and local governments. The Central Election Administration Committee oversees the country's election through different committees serving at various levels. An individual must be 25 years or older to vie for the seat of the House of Representatives and 30 years to be eligible for the seat of the house of councilors.

The Role Of The Constitution Of Japan

According to Japanese Constitution's Article No. 9, the country does not have an official military force but does have the Japan Self-Defense Forces which is an extension of the police force. They are responsible for national territorial defense and may be deployed out of the country for UN peace-keeping. The constitution of Japan controls the activities and the powers of the government. It stipulates the separation of powers among the three branches. It empowers the ceremonial role of appointing the prime minister and the chief justice, convoking sessions of the diet and awarding state honors. It also stipulates that the government cannot maintain the armed forces for aggression purposes. The services of the police are under the national public safety commission whose head is the cabinet minister. This body is responsible for supervising, guarding, guiding, and coordinating separate forces of the prefectures under the control of the commission for public safety.


More in Politics