2014 Japanese general election
The 47th general election of members of the House of Representatives of Japan was held on 14 December 2014. Voting took place in all Representatives constituencies of Japan including proportional blocks, in order to appoint Members of Diet to seats in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet of Japan; as the cabinet resigns in the first post-election Diet session after a general House of Representatives election, the lower house election led to a new designation election of the prime minister in the Diet, the appointment of a new cabinet. The turnout in this election is the lowest in Japanese history. In 2012, the Democratic Party government under Yoshihiko Noda decided to implement a raise of the Japanese consumption tax. Following this move, the Liberal Democratic Party under Shinzo Abe regained control of the Japanese government in the December 2012 general election. Abe proceeded to implement a series of economic programs known as "Abenomics" in a bid to stimulate the economy.
Despite these programs, Japan entered a technical recession in mid-2014, which Abe blamed on the consumption tax hike though many members of the LDP supported the hike. Abe called a snap election on November 18, in part for the purpose of winning LDP backing to postpone the hike and pursue the Abenomics package; the LDP government was expected to win the election in a landslide, many observers viewed the snap election as a mechanism for Abe to entrench his government at a time of relative popularity. The LDP lost a small number of seats but enlarged its majority coalition with Komeito. Turnout was a record low, many voters viewed the election as a waste of time and money. DPJ president Banri Kaieda lost his seat in Tokyo while the Japanese Communist Party doubled in strength; the right-leaning Japan Innovation Party and Party for Future Generations lost seats. The most high-profile LDP candidate to lose re-election is Agriculture Minister Koya Nishikawa, who lost by 199 votes to former Governor of Tochigi Akio Fukuda.
He was questioned in October after receiving financial support from a fraudulent company. Amongst the DPJ members to lose their seats were party leader Banri Kaieda. Party for Future Generations leader Shintaro Ishihara was unsuccessful in his attempt to win a seat after receiving a low position on his party's representative ballot. Former leader of the now-dissolved Your Party and six-term representative for Tochigi-3rd district, Yoshimi Watanabe was defeated; the JCP gained its first single-seat constituency seat since the 1996 election. Amidst a growing anti-base movement in Okinawa, JCP candidate Seiken Akamine unseated LDP incumbent Kōnosuke Kokuba in a night marked with a nationwide JCP surge; the retention referendum to confirm judges of the Supreme Court who have been appointed or not confirmed for 10 years is held together with a lower house election. Subnational elections scheduled for December 14 include the prefectural assembly election in Ibaraki. Another prefectural election in December 2014 is the gubernatorial election in Miyazaki, scheduled for December 21.
Under 2013 changes to the electoral law designed to reduce malapportionment, district boundaries in 17 prefectures have been redrawn and five districts are eliminated without replacement. The number of first-past-the-post seats is reduced to 295, the total number of seats decreases to 475. In November 2015, the Grand Bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the inequality in vote weight due to malapportionment was still in an unconstitutional state. Parties' approval ratings from 2013–14 Cabinet approval/disapproval ratings Media related to Japanese general election, 2014 at Wikimedia Commons
Tadamori Ōshima is a Japanese politician of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Diet. A native of Hachinohe and graduate of Keio University, he worked at the national newspaper Mainichi Shimbun from 1970 to 1974, was elected to the assembly of Aomori Prefecture in 1975, he was elected to the House of Representatives for the first time in 1983 after an unsuccessful run in 1980. Official website
Emperor of Japan
The Emperor of Japan is the head of the Imperial Family and the head of state of Japan. Under the 1947 constitution, he is defined as "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people." He was the highest authority of the Shinto religion. In Japanese, the Emperor is called Tennō "heavenly sovereign". In English, the use of the term Mikado for the Emperor was once common, but is now considered obsolete; the Emperor of Japan is the only head of state in the world with the English title of "Emperor". The Imperial House of Japan is the oldest continuing monarchical house in the world; the historical origins of the Emperors lie in the late Kofun period of the 3rd–7th centuries AD, but according to the traditional account of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki, Japan was founded in 660 BC by Emperor Jimmu, said to be a direct descendant of the sun-goddess Amaterasu. The current Emperor is Akihito, he acceded to the Chrysanthemum Throne upon the death of his father, Emperor Shōwa, in 1989. The Japanese government announced in December 2017 that Akihito will abdicate on 30 April 2019.
The role of the Emperor of Japan has alternated between a ceremonial symbolic role and that of an actual imperial ruler. Since the establishment of the first shogunate in 1199, the Emperors of Japan have taken on a role as supreme battlefield commander, unlike many Western monarchs. Japanese Emperors have nearly always been controlled by external political forces, to varying degrees. In fact, between 1192 and 1867, the shōguns, or their shikken regents in Kamakura, were the de facto rulers of Japan, although they were nominally appointed by the Emperor. After the Meiji Restoration in 1867, the Emperor was the embodiment of all sovereign power in the realm, as enshrined in the Meiji Constitution of 1889. Since the enactment of the 1947 Constitution, he has been a ceremonial head of state without nominal political powers. Since the mid-nineteenth century, the Imperial Palace has been called Kyūjō Kōkyo, is on the former site of Edo Castle in the heart of Tokyo. Earlier, Emperors resided in Kyoto for nearly eleven centuries.
The Emperor's Birthday is a national holiday. Unlike most constitutional monarchs, the Emperor is not the nominal chief executive. Article 65 explicitly vests executive power in the Cabinet, of which the Prime Minister is the leader; the Emperor is not the commander-in-chief of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The Japan Self-Defense Forces Act of 1954 explicitly vests this role with the Prime Minister; the Emperor's powers are limited only to important ceremonial functions. Article 4 of the Constitution stipulates that the Emperor "shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in the Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government." It stipulates that "the advice and approval of the Cabinet shall be required for all acts of the Emperor in matters of state". Article 4 states that these duties can be delegated by the Emperor as provided for by law. While the Emperor formally appoints the Prime Minister to office, Article 6 of the Constitution requires him to appoint the candidate "as designated by the Diet", without giving the Emperor the right to decline appointment.
Article 6 of the Constitution delegates the Emperor the following ceremonial roles: Appointment of the Prime Minister as designated by the Diet. Appointment of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as designated by the Cabinet; the Emperor's other duties are laid down in article 7 of the Constitution, where it is stated that "the Emperor, with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, shall perform the following acts in matters of state on behalf of the people." In practice, all of these duties are exercised only in accordance with the binding instructions of the Cabinet: Promulgation of amendments of the constitution, cabinet orders, treaties. Convocation of the Diet. Dissolution of the House of Representatives. Proclamation of general election of members of the Diet. Attestation of the appointment and dismissal of Ministers of State and other officials as provided for by law, of full powers and credentials of Ambassadors and Ministers. Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment and restoration of rights.
Awarding of honors. Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents as provided for by law. Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers. Performance of ceremonial functions. Regular ceremonies of the Emperor with a constitutional basis are the Imperial Investitures in the Tokyo Imperial Palace and the Speech from the Throne ceremony in the House of Councillors in the National Diet Building; the latter ceremony opens extra sessions of the Diet. Ordinary sessions are opened each January and after new elections to the House of Representatives. Extra sessions convene in the autumn and are opened then. Although the Emperor has been a symbol of continuity with the past, the degree of power exercised by the Emperor has varied throughout Japanese history. In the early 7th century, the Emperor had begun to be called the "Son of Heaven"; the title of Emperor was borrowed from China, being derived from Chinese characters and was retroactively applied to the legendary Japanese rulers who reigned before the 7th–8th centuries AD.
According to the traditional account of the Nihon Shoki, Japan was founded by Emperor Jimmu in 660 BC. Modern historians agree that the Emperors before the possible late 3rd century AD ruler known traditionally as Emperor Ōjin are legendary. Emperor Ank
Supreme Court of Japan
The Supreme Court of Japan, located in Hayabusachō, Tokyo, is the highest court in Japan. It has ultimate judicial authority to interpret the Japanese constitution and decide questions of national law, it has the power of judicial review. The first Western-style supreme court in Japan was the Supreme Court of Judicature organized by the Ministry of Justice in 1875; this court was composed of 120 judges in both criminal divisions. Five judges would be empaneled for any given case; the criminal division of the court was the court of first instance for crimes against the Emperor and for high crimes against public order. The statute creating the Court was abolished in 1947, the modern Supreme Court was formed that year under the constitution of 1947; the new court was first convened in May 1947 in the former Privy Council quarters of the Tokyo Imperial Palace. It moved to the Tokyo District Court building in September assumed the former quarters of the Supreme Court of Judicature in October 1949. Newly established Constitution and the Rules of the Supreme Court allowed the court to have dominating power to make comment to the law and to select its official precedents by the Case Selection Committee, as well as to autonomously govern judges.
Hosokai, the lawyers association, stipulating the rules of sentencing and judgement within judges, public prosecutors and attorneys, remained too. After US occupation force left Japan, its rules became one of the closed documents to the public, except being seen in gazette. In 1974, the Supreme Court moved to its current five-story building at 4-2 Hayabusa-cho, Tokyo; the building was designed by architect Shinichi Okada and won the Architecture Institute of Japan Prize for Design. The Article 81 of the constitution designates it as "the court of last resort with power to determine the constitutionality of any law, regulation, or official act." The Supreme Court is responsible for nominating judges to lower courts, determining judicial procedures, overseeing the judicial system, including the activities of public prosecutors, disciplining judges and other judicial personnel. It renders decisions from a petit bench of five; the grand bench is required for cases involving constitutionality. The court includes 34 research clerks, whose function is similar to that of the clerks of the United States Supreme Court.
The Chief Justice is appointed to office by the Emperor. The associate justices are appointed by the Cabinet in attestation of the Emperor. After appointment, Supreme Court justices are subject to a "people's review": an automatic retention referendum in which the voters may remove the judge from office. A people's review occurs at the first election to the House of Representatives after a justice assumes office, when the question of whether his tenure should continue is put to voters on the ballot; the Supreme Court justice is subject to a further people's review at the first lower house election after every ten years. The system used resembles the Missouri Plan followed in some U. S. states. It is established by Article 79 of the constitution which includes the following provisions: As of October 2009, no Supreme Court justice has been dismissed by a people's review, it is unusual for a justice to be subject to a second review, as most are over the age of sixty when appointed and there is mandatory retirement at seventy.
The Supreme Court is the only Japanese court explicitly empowered to review the constitutionality of laws, although it has held that lower courts have power to interpret the constitution. Unlike constitutional courts in other civil law countries, it only exercises judicial review in cases where there is a genuine dispute between parties, does not accept questions of constitutionality from government officials; the Supreme Court is reluctant to exercise the powers of judicial review given to it by the constitution, in large part because of unwillingness to become involved in politically sensitive issues. When decisions have been rendered on such matters as the constitutionality of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, the sponsorship of Shinto ceremonies by public authorities, or the authority of the Ministry of Education, Sports and Technology to determine the content of school textbooks or teaching curricula, the Court has deferred to the government. One important exception to this trend was a series of rulings on the unconstitutionality of the electoral district apportionment system.
Although the Court ruled in 1964 that legislative districting was a matter of legislative policy, it ruled in the 1976 case of Kurokawa v. Chiba Election Commission, that a 5:1 discrepancy in the voter-to-representative ratio between two districts was an unconstitutional violation of the right to an equal vote. Nonetheless, the Diet has failed to keep malapportionment within the limits set forth in Kurokawa. Aside from electoral matters, provisions declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court have included rules Punishing patricide more harshly than other homicides. Restricting pharmacies from doing business close to one another. Limiting the liability of the postal service for the loss of registered mail. Restricting subdivision of property by joint owners of forest land. Restricting the right of citizenship of certain illegitimate children. One critic of the court writes that: The Supreme Court of Japan has been described as the most conservative constitutional court in the world, for good r
Tarō Asō is a Japanese politician, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Asō was the 59th Prime Minister of Japan, serving from September 2008 to September 2009, he was a member of the Japanese shooting team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Asō has served in the House of Representatives since 1979, he was Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2005 to 2007, was Secretary-General of the Liberal Democratic Party in 2007 and in 2008. He was President of the LDP from 2008 to 2009, his successor, Sadakazu Tanigaki, was chosen on 28 September 2009. After the LDP's victory in the 2012 general election under Shinzō Abe he was appointed to the cabinet as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance, State Minister for Financial Services, he has held the positions since 26 December 2012. Asō, a Roman Catholic, was born in Iizuka in Fukuoka Prefecture on 20 September 1940, his father, Takakichi Asō, was the chairman of the Aso Cement Company and a close associate of Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka. Tarō is a great-great-grandson of Ōkubo Toshimichi, his wife, Chikako is the third daughter of Prime Minister Zenkō Suzuki.
His younger sister, Princess Tomohito of Mikasa, is a cousin-in-law of Emperor Akihito. Asō graduated from the Faculty of Politics and Economics at Gakushuin University, the London School of Economics. Asō spent two years working for a diamond mining operation in Sierra Leone before civil war forced him to return to Japan, he joined his father's company in 1966, served as president of the Aso Mining Company from 1973 to 1979. Working for the company, he became fluent in Portuguese, he was a member of the Japanese shooting team at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal and President of the Japan Junior Chamber in 1978. He joined the Cabinet of Jun'ichirō Koizumi in 2003 as Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications. On 31 October 2005, he became Minister for Foreign Affairs. There has been some speculation that his position in the Cabinet was due to his membership in the Kōno Group, an LDP caucus led by pro-Chinese lawmaker Yōhei Kōno: by appointing Asō as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Koizumi may have been attempting to "rein in" Kōno's statements critical of Japanese foreign policy.
Asō was one of the final candidates to replace Koizumi as prime minister in 2006, but lost the internal party election to Shinzō Abe by a wide margin. Both Abe and Asō are conservative on foreign policy issues and have taken confrontational stances towards some East Asian nations North Korea and, to a lesser extent, the People's Republic of China. Abe was considered a more "moderate" politician than the more "hard-line" Asō, led Asō in opinion polling within Japan. Asō's views on multilateralism are suggested in a 2006 speech, "Arc of Freedom and Prosperity: Japan's Expanding Diplomatic Horizons". Asō acknowledged that he would most lose to Fukuda, but said that he wanted to run so that there would be an open election, saying that otherwise LDP would face criticism for making its choice "through back-room deals". In the President election, held on 23 September, Fukuda defeated Asō, receiving 330 votes against 197 votes for Asō. On 1 August 2008, Fukuda appointed Asō as Secretary-General of LDP, a move that solidified Asō's position as the number two man in the party.
Unexpectedly on 1 September 2008, Fukuda announced his resignation as Prime Minister. Five LDP members including Asō ran for new party President to succeed Fukuda. On 21 September, one day before votes of Diet party members, Asō told a crowd of supporters outside Tokyo: "The greatest concern right now is the economy." "America is facing a financial crisis... we must not allow that to bring us down as well." On 22 September, Asō did win. He was elected as President of LDP with 351 of 525 votes. Two days on 24 September, Asō was designated by the Diet as Prime Minister, was formally appointed to the office by the Emperor on that night. In the House of Representatives, he garnered 337 out of 478 votes cast; because no agreement was reached at a joint committee of both Houses, the resolution of the House of Representatives became the resolution of the Diet, as is stipulated in the Constitution. Asō said, "If you look at the current period, it's not a stable one." And "These are turbulent times with the financial situation and everything else."Later on the same day as his election as Prime Minister, Asō announced his new Cabinet.
His Cabinet was markedly different from the preceding Cabinet under Fukuda. Five of its members had never served in the Cabinet, one of them, 34-year-old Yūko Obuchi, was the youngest member of the Cabinet in the post-war era. Prime Minister Asō flew to Washington to meet with United States President Barack Obama in February 2009, he was the first foreign leader to visit the Obama White House. After his election as prime minister Asō was expected to dissolve the lower house to clear the way for a general election, but he stressed the need for a functioning government to face the
Fumihito, Prince Akishino
Fumihito, Prince Akishino is a member of the Japanese imperial family. He is the younger son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko and second in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne after his elder brother Crown Prince Naruhito. Since his marriage in June 1990, he has held the title of Akishino-no-miya and headed his own branch of the imperial family; the prince was born on 30 November 1965 at the Imperial Household Agency Hospital, Tokyo Imperial Palace in Tokyo. His given name is Fumihito, his mother, Empress Michiko, is a convert to Shinto from Roman Catholicism. His childhood appellation was Prince Aya, he attended the secondary schools of the Gakushuin. He played tennis in secondary schools of the Gakushuin. In April 1984, he entered the Law Department of Gakushuin University, where he studied law and biological science. After graduating from the university with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, he studied the taxonomy of fish at St John's College, Oxford in the United Kingdom from October 1988 to June 1990.
Upon the death of his grandfather, Emperor Shōwa, in 7 January 1989, he became second-in-line to the throne after his elder brother, Crown Prince Naruhito. Prince Fumihito received a PhD degree in ornithology from the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in October 1996, his doctoral dissertation was titled, "Molecular Phylogeny of Jungle Fowls, genus Gallus and Monophyletic Origin of Domestic Fowls". He conducted field research in Indonesia in 1993 and 1994, in Yunnan Province in the People's Republic of China; when the current Emperor was still Crown Prince, he introduced tilapia to Thailand as an important source of protein. Tilapia can be cultured and Prince Fumihito, known as "catfish specialist," has managed to maintain and expand the aquacultural studies with the people of Thailand. Prior to Fumihito's birth, the announcement about the then-Crown Prince Akihito's engagement and marriage to the then-Ms. Michiko Shōda had drawn opposition from traditionalist groups, because Shōda came from a Roman Catholic family.
Although Shōda was never baptized, she was educated in Catholic schools and seemed to share the faith of her parents. Rumors speculated that Empress Kōjun had opposed the engagement. After the death of Fumihito's paternal grandmother Empress Kōjun in 2000, Reuters reported that she was one of the strongest opponents of her son's marriage, that in the 1960s, she had driven her daughter-in-law and grandchildren to depression by persistently accusing her of not being suitable for her son. On 29 June 1990, Prince Fumihito married Kiko Kawashima, the daughter of Tatsuhiko Kawashima and his wife, Kazuyo; the couple met. Like his father, the present Emperor, the Prince married outside the former aristocracy and former collateral branches of the imperial family. Upon marriage, he received the title Prince Akishino and authorization from the Imperial Household Economy Council to form a new branch of the Imperial Family; the marriage was bitterly resented by officials at the Imperial Household Agency, as well as Prince Akishino's paternal-grandmother Empress Dowager Nagako.
Prince and Princess Akishino have two daughters and one son: Princess Mako Princess Kako Prince Hisahito Prince Akishino serves as the president of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology and the Japanese Association of Zoological Gardens and Aquariums. He is the honorary president of the World Wide Fund for Nature Japan, the Japan Tennis Association, the Japan-Netherlands Association, he is a visiting professor of Tokyo University of Agriculture. Prince and Princess Akishino foster friendly relations with foreign countries by representing Japan at select international events. For example, they traveled to the Netherlands in August 2009 to commemorate 400 years of trade between the Netherlands and Japan, they were hosted by Queen Beatrix in The Hague. Their public activities included meeting Japanese language students, visiting the Siebold House, a university hospital, two other museums. At the Dutch National Archives, they attended the opening of a major exhibition of Japan-related material, "From Here to Tokyo, 400 Years of Trade with Japan".
In addition, this official visit included talks with the Dutch prime minister. On other occasion, they traveled to Hungary in March 2007. In addition, Prince Akishino carried out public duties on behalf of the Emperor when he was hospitalized, he and other members of the imperial family visited the affected areas after the Great East Japan earthquake in March 2011. As legislation has been passed allowing his father's abdication, he is expected to become heir-presumptive to the throne on 30 April 2019. Prince Akishino is a big fan of an avid tennis player; as a student, Fumihito ranked among the top ten doubles tennis players in the Kantō Region. He is known as a successor to Arisugawa school of calligraphy. 30 November 1965 – 29 June 1990: His Imperial Highness The Prince Aya 29 June 1990 – present: His Imperial Highness The Prince Akishino Japan: Grand Cordon of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum Belgium: Grand Cros
Hirotaka Akamatsu is a Japanese politician of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Diet. A native of Nagoya and graduate of Waseda University, he was elected to the first of his three terms in the assembly of Aichi Prefecture and to the House of Representatives for the first time in 1990 as a member of the Japan Socialist Party, he was appointed Minister of Agriculture in 2009. In April 2010, he skipped the traditional visit by legislators to Ise Jingu, opting instead to take a holiday in Mexico with his wife. While he was on vacation, Japan suffered a large outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, his response to the outbreak was criticized and the Ministry of Agriculture apologized on his behalf on May 31. The Hatoyama government collapsed in Akamatsu was not reappointed. Akamatsu is the current Vice Speaker of the House of Representatives, he was previously Vice Speaker between 2012 and 2014. 政治家情報 〜赤松 広隆〜. ザ･選挙. JANJAN. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
Official website in Japanese