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You Are Here: Locations > Japan > Government

Japan

GOVERNMENT
Country Name:
  conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Japan
Government Type:
  constitutional monarchy
Administrative Divisions:
  47 prefectures; Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gumma, Hiroshima, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Iwate, Kagawa, Kagoshima, Kanagawa, Kochi, Kumamoto, Kyoto, Mie, Miyagi, Miyazaki, Nagano, Nagasaki, Nara, Niigata, Oita, Okayama, Okinawa, Osaka, Saga, Saitama, Shiga, Shimane, Shizuoka, Tochigi, Tokushima, Tokyo, Tottori, Toyama, Wakayama, Yamagata, Yamaguchi, Yamanashi
Independence:
  660 BC (traditional founding by Emperor Jimmu)
National Holiday:
  Birthday of the Emperor, 23 December (1933)
Constitution:
  3 May 1947
Legal System :
  modeled after European civil law system with English-American influence; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage:
  20 years of age; universal
Executive Branch:
  chief of state: Emperor AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Yoshiro MORI (since 5 April 2000)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; the Diet designates the prime minister; the constitution requires that the prime minister must command a parliamentary majority, therefore, following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition in the House of Representatives usually becomes prime minister
note: on 3 April 2000, Prime Minister Keizo OBUCHI suffered a stroke and was relieved of his duties; Chief Cabinet Secretary Mikio AOKI became acting prime minister; on 5 April 2000, Yoshiro MORI was elected prime minister by a vote in both houses of the Diet, receiving 137 out of 244 votes cast in the House of Councillors ans 335 out of 488 votes cast in the House of Representatives
Legislative Branch:
  bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the House of Councillors or Sangi-in (252 seats; one-half of the members elected every three years - 76 seats of which are elected from the 47 multi-seat prefectural districts and 50 of which are elected from a single nationwide list with voters casting ballots by party; members elected by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Shugi-in (500 seats - 200 of which are elected from 11 regional blocks on a proportional representation basis and 300 of which are elected from 300 single-seat districts; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: House of Councillors - last held 12 July 1998 (next to be held NA July 2001); House of Representatives - last held 20 October 1996 (next to be held by October 2000)
election results: House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LDP 102, DPJ 47, JCP 23, Komeito 22, SDP 13, Liberal Party 12, independents 26, others 7; note - the distribution of seats as of December 1999 is as follows - LDP 105, DPJ 57, Komeito 24, JCP 23, SDP 13, Liberal Party 12, independents 6, others 12; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - LDP 240, NFP 142, DPJ 52, JCP 26, SDP 15, Sun Party 10, others 15; note - the distribution of seats as of December 1999 is as follows - LDP 267, DPJ 93, Komeito/Reform Club 48, Liberal Party 39, JCP 26, SDP 14, independents 9, others 4
Judicial Branch:
  Supreme Court, chief justice is appointed by the monarch after designation by the cabinet, all other justices are appointed by the cabinet
Political Parties and Leaders:
  Democratic Party of Japan or DPJ [Yukio HATOYAMA, leader, Tsutomu HATA, secretary general]; Japan Communist Party or JCP [Tetsuzo FUWA, chairman, Kazuo SHII, secretary general]; Komeito [Takenori KANZAKI, president, Tetsuzo FUYUSHIBA, secretary general]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Yoshiro MORI, president, Hiromu NONAKA, secretary general]; Liberal Party [Ichiro OZAWA, president, Hirohisa FUJII, secretary general]; Reform Club [Tatsuo OZAWA, leader, Katsuyuki ISHIDA, secretary general]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Takako DOI, chairperson, Sadao FUCHIGAMI, secretary general]
note: subsequent to the last legislative elections, the New Frontier Party or NFP and the Sun Party disbanded; in late 1997, the LP was formed by former NFP members; the DPJ was formed by former members of the SDP and Sakigake and, in April 1998, was joined by three additional parties which had formed after the NFP disbanded; New Peace Party and Komei merged to form Komeito in November 1998
International Organization Participation:
  AfDB, APEC, AsDB, Australia Group, BIS, CCC, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CP, EBRD, ESCAP, FAO, G- 5, G- 7, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNRWA, UNU, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC
Flag Description:
  white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center


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