supports I.C.E.Y. - H.O.P.E. (non-profit org)
(International Cooperation of Environmental Youth - Helping Our Polluted Earth) Any advertisement you view helps save the environment!  Thanks!


Countries / Regions


Viewer's Corner

Publish your story on - Personal experiences, opinions, articles, or any information related to Asia.  More Info...


Asianinfo Photo Gallery
Photos of Asia now available for purchase 

FREE Photos available!

IMG_0122 copy.JPG (69431 bytes)




Hong Kong







Summary of Politics in Japan
Japan's Main Page

Politics in Japan




 supports I.C.E.Y. - H.O.P.E. (non-profit org)
(International Cooperation of Environmental Youth - Helping Our Polluted Earth) Any advertisement you view helps save the environment!  Thanks!



The constitution of Japan, which came into effect in 1947, is based on the principles of popular sovereignty, respect for fundamental human rights, and the advocacy of peace.  Japan's political system is one of constitutional democracy.  In accordance with the principle of "separation of powers," the activities of the national government are formally divided into legislative, judicial, and executive organs.

The Emperor is "the symbol of the State and unity of the people."  The Emperor appoints the Prime Minister and Chief Judge of the Supreme Court as designated by the Diets, and performs "only such acts in matters of state" as provided for in the Constitution along with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, such as promulgation of amendments of the constitution, laws, cabinet orders and treaties, convocation of the Diets, dissolution of the House of Representatives, and so forth.

Back to Top

The Constitution of Japan proclaims a system of representative democracy in which the Diet is "the highest organ of state power."  It is formally specified that the Diet, as the core of Japan's system of governance, takes precedence over the government's executive branch.  The designation of the Prime Minister, who heads the executive branch, is done by resolution of the Diet.  Japan practices a system of parliamentary Cabinet by which the Prime Minister appoints the majority of the Cabinet members from among members of the Diet.  The Cabinet thus works in solidarity with the Diet and is responsible to it.  In this respect, the system is similar to that of Great Britain, but different from that of the United States, where the three branches of government are theoretically on a level of perfect equality.

The Diet is divided into two chambers: The lower chamber, or the House of Representatives, and the upper chamber, or the House of Councillors.  The House of Representatives may introduce "no confidence motions" with respect to the Cabinet.  The Cabinet, on the other hand, is able to dissolve the House of Representatives.  It also has the authority to designate the Chief Judge and appoint the other judges of the Supreme Court.  It is the Supreme Court that determines the constitutionality of any law of official act.  The constitution authorizes the Diet to "set up an impeachment court from among the members of both Houses in order to try any judges against whom removal proceedings have been instituted."

Back to Top


Under the Constitution of Japan, the emperor is the symbol of the state, but he has no powers related to government.  He performs only those acts that are stipulated in the Constitution.

Emperor Akihoto was born in Tokyo on December 23, 1933, the first son of Emperor Hirohito and Empress Nagako.  Then Crown Prince Akihito married Michiko Shoda, the eldest daughter of the president of a major flour manufacturing company, in April 1959.  He acceded to the throne on January 7, 1989, upon the death of his father, the late Emperor Hirohito (posthumously named Emperor Showa), who was the longest reigning and longest-living emperor in Japanese history.  He passed away at the age of 87 after reigning for 62 years.  Emperor Akihito is noted for his taxonomic studies of fish.  He has published a number of academic papers on gobiid fish and is coauthor of a 1987 book on Japan's freshwater fish species.

Back to Top

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko have three children: Crown Prince Naruhito, born on February 23, 1960; Prince Fumihito, born on November 30, 1965; and Princess Sayako, brown on April 18, 1969.  Crown Prince Naruhito studied at Oxford University in England from 1983-1985, and Prince Fumihito did likewise from 1988 to 1990.  In June 1993, Crown Prince Naruhito married Masako Owada, the eldest daughter of an administrative vice-minister for foreign affairs and herself a member of the diplomatic corps until the engagement was announced.  Prince Fumihito married Kiko Kawashima in June 1990, upon which he received the family name Akishino.  A daughter, Princess Mako, was born in October 1991; a second daughter, Princess Kako, was born in December 1994.

Back to Top


The first political party to emerge in Japan was the Aikoku Koto (Public Party of the Patriots), formed in 1874 under the leadership of Taisuke Itagaki.  The party presented a written petition

Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Japan
local long form: Nihon-koku/Nippon-koku
local short form: Nihon/Nippon
Government type:
a parliamentary government with a constitutional monarchy
name: Tokyo
geographic coordinates: 35 41 N, 139 45 E
time difference: UTC+9 (14 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
47 prefectures; Aichi, Akita, Aomori, Chiba, Ehime, Fukui, Fukuoka, Fukushima, Gifu, Gunma, 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
3 May 1947 (current constitution adopted as amendment to Meiji Constitution); notable earlier dates: 660 B.C. (traditional date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU); 29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy)
National holiday:
Birthday of Emperor AKIHITO, 23 December (1933)
3 May 1947
Legal system:
modeled after European civil law systems with English-American influence; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
20 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Emperor AKIHITO (since 7 January 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Naoto KAN (since 8 June 2010)
cabinet: Cabinet is appointed by the prime minister
elections: Diet designates the prime minister; constitution requires that the prime minister commands parliamentary majority; following legislative elections, the leader of majority party or leader of majority coalition in House of Representatives usually becomes prime minister; the monarchy is hereditary
Legislative branch:
bicameral Diet or Kokkai consists of the House of Councillors or Sangi-in (242 seats - members elected for fixed six-year terms; half reelected every three years; 146 members in multi-seat constituencies and 96 by proportional representation) and the House of Representatives or Shugi-in (480 seats - members elected for maximum four-year terms; 300 in single-seat constituencies; 180 members by proportional representation in 11 regional blocs); the prime minister has the right to dissolve the House of Representatives at any time with the concurrence of the cabinet
elections: House of Councillors - last held on 11 July 2010 (next to be held in July 2013); House of Representatives - last held on 30 August 2009 (next to be held by August 2013)
election results: House of Councillors - percent of vote by party - DPJ 31.6%, LDP 24.1%, YP 13.6%, NK 13.1%, JCP 6.1%, SDP 3.8%, others 7.7%; seats by party - DPJ 106, LDP 84, NK 19, YP 11, JCP 6, SDP 4, others 12
House of Representatives - percent of vote by party (by proportional representation) - DPJ 42.4%, LDP 26.7%, NK 11.5%, JCP 7.0%, SDP 4.3%, others 8.1%; seats by party - DPJ 308, LDP 119, NK 21, JCP 9, SDP 7, others 16 (2009)
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 [Naoto KAN]; Japan Communist Party or JCP [Kazuo SHII]; Liberal Democratic Party or LDP [Sadakazu TANIGAKI]; New Komeito or NK [Natsuo YAMAGUCHI]; People's New Party or PNP [Shizuka KAMEI]; Social Democratic Party or SDP [Mizuho FUKUSHIMA]; Your Party or YP [Yoshimi WATANABE]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
other: business groups; trade unions
International organization participation:
ADB, AfDB (nonregional member), APEC, ARF, ASEAN (dialogue partner), Australia Group, BIS, CE (observer), CERN (observer), CICA (observer), CP, EAS, EBRD, FAO, FATF, G-20, G-5, G-7, G-8, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAIA (observer), MIGA, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE (partner), Paris Club, PCA, PIF (partner), SAARC (observer), SECI (observer), UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNDOF, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Ichiro FUJISAKI
chancery: 2520 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 238-6700
FAX: [1] (202) 328-2187
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Agana (Guam), Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Portland (Oregon), San Francisco, Seattle
consulate(s): Anchorage, Nashville
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador John V. ROOS
embassy: 1-10-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8420
mailing address: Unit 9800, Box 300, APO AP 96303-0300
telephone: [81] (03) 3224-5000
FAX: [81] (03) 3505-1862
consulate(s) general: Naha (Okinawa), Osaka-Kobe, Sapporo
consulate(s): Fukuoka, Nagoya
Flag description:
white with a large red disk (representing the sun without rays) in the center
National anthem:
name: "Kimigayo" (The Emperor"s Reign)
lyrics/music: unknown/Hiromori HAYASHI
note: adopted 1999; in use as unofficial national anthem since 1883; oldest anthem lyrics in the world, dating to the 10th century or earlier; there is some opposition to the anthem because of its association with militarism and worship of the emperor


Back to Top


Cheap Airline Tickets

Discount Hotels

Rental Car Deals




Disclaimer: does not guarantee the complete accuracy of the information provided on this site or links.  Do your own research and get a professional's opinion before adhering to advice or information contained herein.  Use of the information contained herein provided by and any mistakes contained within are at the individual risk of the user. 

(We do not provide links to, or knowingly promote, any violent or pornographic sites.)

Suggestions  |  Organization Info  |  Become a Sponsor Privacy Statement

 Copyright 2010 - All Rights Reserved.- Copyright Policy