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
Leader of the Opposition (Japan)
The Leader of the Opposition is the leader of the largest opposing party to the Japanese government. The role is not an official office. Under the Shōwa Emperor Under Emperor Akihito
Next Japanese general election
The 49th general election of members of the House of Representatives is scheduled on or before 22 October 2021, as required by the Constitution of Japan. Voting will take 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 has to resign after a general House of Representatives election in the first post-election Diet session, the lower house election will lead to a new designation election of the Prime Minister in the Diet, the appointment of a new cabinet. Under the post-occupation interpretation of Article 7 of the Constitution, the cabinet may instruct the Emperor to dissolve the House of Representatives before the end of term at will. Elections must be held within 40 days after dissolution; the only time in postwar history that the House of Representatives was not dissolved before the end of its term was in 1976. If the House of Representatives completes a full four-year term, the election must be held within 30 days before that.
Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution Referendum
House of Representatives (Japan)
The House of Representatives is the lower house of the National Diet of Japan. The House of Councillors is the upper house; the House of Representatives has 465 members, elected for a four-year term. Of these, 176 members are elected from 11 multi-member constituencies by a party-list system of proportional representation, 289 are elected from single-member constituencies. 233 seats are required for a majority. The overall voting system used to elect the House of Representatives is a parallel system, a form of semi-proportional representation. Under a parallel system the allocation of list seats does not take into account the outcome in the single seat constituencies. Therefore, the overall allocation of seats in the House of Representatives is not proportional, to the advantage of larger parties. In contrast, in bodies such as the German Bundestag the election of single-seat members and party list members is linked, so that the overall result respects proportional representation; the House of Representatives is the more powerful of the two houses, able to override vetoes on bills imposed by the House of Councillors with a two-thirds majority.
It can be dissolved by the Prime Minister at will, the most recent was by Shinzō Abe as on September 28, 2017. Japanese nationals aged 18 years and older may vote. Japanese nationals aged 25 years and older may run for office in the lower house; the House of Representatives has several powers not given to the House of Councillors. If a bill is passed by the lower house but is voted down by the upper house the House of Representatives can override the decision of the House of Councillors by a two-thirds vote in the affirmative. However, in the case of treaties, the budget, the selection of the prime minister, the House of Councillors can only delay passage, but not block the legislation; as a result, the House of Representatives is considered the more powerful house. Members of the House of Representatives, who are elected to a maximum of four years, sit for a shorter term than members of the House of Councillors, who are elected to full six-year terms; the lower house can be dissolved by the Prime Minister or the passage of a nonconfidence motion, while the House of Councillors cannot be dissolved.
Thus the House of Representatives is considered to be more sensitive to public opinion, is termed the "lower house". While the legislative term is nominally 4 years, early elections for the lower house are common, the median lifespan of postwar legislatures has in practice been around 3 years. For a list of individual members, see the List of members of the Diet of Japan. Shaded green: Ruling party/coalition before and after the lower house election red: Ruling party/coalition after the election = Change of government as a result of the lower house election blue: Ruling party/coalition until the election = Change of government as a result of the lower house election none: Opposition before and after the electionNote that the composition of the ruling coalition may change between lower house elections, e.g. after upper house elections. Parties who vote with the government in the Diet, but are not part of the cabinet are not shaded. Under the 1889 Meiji Constitution which took effect in 1890 and established the Imperial Diet, the House of Peers functioned as an aristocratic upper house in a format similar to the House of Lords in the Westminster system, or the Herrenhaus in the Prussian government of the time.
The elected House of Representatives served as the lower house of the Imperial Diet. In the Imperial Diet, both houses had to agree to legislation; the government and the prime minister leading it were neither responsible to nor elected by the Imperial Diet. But the right to vote on legislation and more the budget gave the House of Representatives leverage to force the government into negotiations. After an early period of frequent confrontation and temporary alliances between the cabinet and political parties in the lower house, parts of the Meiji oligarchy more sympathetic to political parties around Itō Hirobumi and parts of the liberal parties formed a more permanent alliance in form of the Rikken Seiyūkai in 1900; the confidence of the House of Representatives was never a formal requirement to govern. During the Taisho Political Crisis in 1913, a "no-confidence vote" against the 3rd Katsura Cabinet, accompanied by major demonstrations outside the Diet, was followed shortly by resignation.
Subsequently, in the period referred to as Taishō democracy, it became customary to appoint many ministers including several prime ministers from the House of Representatives – Hara Takashi became the first commoner as prime minister in 1918. In the same year, the Rice Riots had confronted the government with an unprecedented scale of domestic unrest, a socialist revolution brought the Prusso-German monarchy to its end, the system Meiji oligarchs had used as the main model for the Meiji constitution to consolidate and preserve Imperial power. Oligarchs fundamentally opposed to political parties such as Yamagata Aritomo became more inclined to cooperate with the parties to prevent a rise of socialism or other movements that might threaten Imperial rul
Shinzō Abe is a Japanese politician serving as Prime Minister of Japan and Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party since 2012. He served as Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007 and Chief Cabinet Secretary from 2005 to 2006. In 2019, Abe succeeded Shigeru Yoshida as the second-longest serving Prime Minister in post-war Japan and the fourth-longest serving PM in Japanese history. Abe comes from a politically prominent family and was first elected Prime Minister by a special session of the National Diet in September 2006. Aged 52, he became Japan's youngest post-war Prime Minister and the first to have been born after World War II. Abe resigned on 12 September 2007 for health reasons after his party lost the House of Councillors election that year, he was replaced by Yasuo Fukuda, the first in a series of five Prime Ministers who failed to retain office for more than sixteen months. Abe staged a political comeback, on 26 September 2012 he defeated former Minister of Defense Shigeru Ishiba for the LDP presidency.
Following the LDP's landslide victory in the 2012 general election, he became the first former Prime Minister to return to the office since Shigeru Yoshida in 1948. He was re-elected in the 2014 general election, retaining his two-thirds majority with coalition partner Komeito, again in the 2017 general election. Abe is a conservative whom political commentators have described as a right-wing nationalist, he is a member of the revisionist Nippon Kaigi and holds revisionist views on Japanese history, including denying the role of government coercion in the recruitment of comfort women during World War II, a position which has created tension with neighboring South Korea. He is considered a hard-liner with respect to North Korea, advocates revising Article 9 of the pacifist constitution to permit Japan to maintain military forces. Abe is known internationally for his government's economic policies, nicknamed Abenomics, which pursue monetary easing, fiscal stimulus, structural reforms. Shinzō Abe was born to a politically prominent family.
His family is from Yamaguchi Prefecture, Abe's registered residence is Nagato, where his grandfather was born. His grandfather, Kan Abe, father, Shintaro Abe, were both politicians, his great-great-grandfather, the Viscount Yoshimasa Ōshima served as General in the Imperial Japanese Army. Abe's mother, Yoko Kishi, is the daughter of Nobusuke Kishi, prime minister of Japan from 1957 to 1960. Kishi had been a member of the Tōjō Cabinet during the Second World War. Since GHQ's policy changed and became more anti-communist, Kishi was released from Sugamo Prison, established the Japan Democratic Party. In his book Utsukushii Kuni e, Abe wrote, "Some people used to point to my grandfather as a'Class-A war criminal suspect', I felt strong repulsion; because of that experience, I may have become attached to'conservatism', on the contrary."In 1955, Shigeru Yoshida's Liberal Party and Kishi's Democratic Party merged as an anti-leftist coalition and was reestablished as the LDP. Abe attended Seikei Junior High School and Seikei Senior High School.
He studied public administration and graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science from Seikei University in 1977. He moved to the United States and studied public policy at the University of Southern California's School of Public Policy for three semesters. In April 1979, Abe began working for Kobe Steel, he left the company in 1982 and pursued a number of government positions including executive assistant to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, private secretary to the chairperson of the LDP General Council, private secretary to the LDP secretary-general. Shinzō Abe was elected to the first district of Yamaguchi Prefecture in 1993 after his father's death in 1991, winning the most votes of the four Representatives elected in the SNTV multi-member district. In 1999, he became Director of the Social Affairs Division, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary in the Yoshirō Mori and Junichirō Koizumi Cabinets from 2000–2003, after which he was appointed Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party.
Abe is a member of the Mori Faction of the Liberal Democratic Party. This faction is headed by former prime minister Yoshirō Mori. Jun'ichirō Koizumi was a member of the Mori Faction prior to leaving it, as is the custom when accepting a high party post. From 1986 to 1991, Abe's father, headed the same faction; the Seiwa Seisaku Kenkyū-kai has 60 members in the House of Representatives and 26 in the House of Councillors. In 2000, Abe's home and the office of his supporters in Shimonoseki, in Yamaguchi Prefecture, were attacked with molotov cocktails on numerous occasions; the perpetrators were several yakuza members belonging to the Kudo-kai, a Kitakyushu-based designated boryokudan syndicate. The reason for the attacks was believed to be that Abe's local aide refused to give cash to a Shimonoseki real estate broker in return for supporting a Shimonoseki mayoral candidate in 1999. Abe was chief negotiator for the Japanese government on behalf of the families of Japanese abductees taken to North Korea.
As a part of the effort, he accompanied Koizumi to meet Kim Jong‑il in 2002. He gained national popularity when he demanded that Japanese abductees visiting Japan remain, in defiance of North Korea, he was the leader of a project team within the LDP that did a survey on "excessive sexual education and gender-free education". Among the items to which this team raised objections were anatomical dolls and other curricular materials "not taking into consideration the age of children", school policies banning traditional boys' and g
Line of succession to the Japanese throne
The current line of succession to the Chrysanthemum Throne is based on the Imperial Household Law. At present, only direct male-line males are allowed to ascend the throne; the list below contains all princes eligible to succeed to the throne. The Imperial House Law of 1889 was the first Japanese law to regulate the imperial succession; until October 1947, when it was abolished and replaced with the Imperial Household Law, it defined the succession to the throne under the principle of agnatic primogeniture. In all instances, the succession proceeded from the eldest male heir to the youngest. In the majority of cases, the legitimate sons and male heirs of an emperor were favoured over those born to concubines. Illegitimate sons would only be eligible to succeed if no other male heirs existed in the direct line; those in the line of succession suffering from "incurable diseases of mind or body," or when "any other weighty cause exists," could be passed over with the advice of the Imperial Family Council, headed by the emperor, after consulting the Privy Council.
On 11 February 1907, an amendment was made to the Imperial House Law to reduce the numbers of imperial princes in the shinnōke and ōke, the cadet branches of the imperial family, who were fifth– or sixth-generation descendants of an emperor. The amendment provided for princes to leave the imperial family, either by imperial decree or by imperial sanction, they were granted a family name and assumed the status of nobles with the peerage titles of marquis or count, thereby becoming subjects. Alternatively, a prince could be formally adopted into a noble family or succeed to the headship of an imperial family line as a noble. Under the terms of the amendment, those former princes and their descendants who left the imperial family were excluded from the line of succession and made ineligible to return to the imperial family at any future date; as of October 14, 1947, when the Imperial Household Law abolished the shinnoke and oke cadet branches, the immediate line of succession to the Japanese throne was as follows: Prior to this date, the imperial succession was defined by the Imperial House Law of 1889.
As the Taishō Emperor had no brothers, if the main family line had become extinct, the imperial line would have continued through the Fushimi-no-miya shinnoke cadet branch under the terms of the 1889 house law. The Fushimi-no-miya house constitute the nearest direct-male line of imperial descendants. Prince Fushimi Kuniie had 17 sons, 3 of which were by the prince's wife Princess Takatsukasa Hiroko and the rest were all by various concubines, of whom five begat oke that were extant as of 1947. However, the sons bore by Princess Hiroko and their descendants had more prior right to succeed the throne since Hiroko was the only official wife of Prince Kuniie. A 1907 amendment to the Imperial House Law further reduced the number of imperial princes eligible to succeed to the throne. By the amended 1889 house law, the imperial line of succession continued as follows: The Nashimoto collateral branch became extinct in 1951, followed by the Yamashina and Kan'in branches in 1987 and 1988; the main Fushimi-no-miya line and the Kuni, Asaka, Higashikuni and Kitashirakawa collateral branches remain extant as of 2015.
The present head of the Fushimi-no-miya family and the head of the Kitashirakawa branch lack male heirs to continue their lineages, however. Debate over the imperial succession was first raised in the late 1920s after the Shōwa Emperor's accession. For the first eight years of their marriage, the emperor and empress only had girls; as a career military officer and known nationalist with radical leanings, the prince enjoyed close relations with the rightist faction in the military. During the early 1930s, his strong support for the "Imperial Way" faction in the army was an open secret. A large number of "Imperial Way" followers in the military were critical of the emperor for his scientific interests, self-effacing demeanour and presumed pacifism, considering him a "mediocre" individual manipulated by corrupt advisors. With his political leanings, Prince Chichibu antagonized his elder brother, who reprimanded him on several occasions and arranged for his posting to unimportant positions where he could be more watched.
Apart from Prince Chichibu, the February 26 rebels relied on the tacit support of Princes Asaka and Higashikuni, both senior army generals and imperial princes who were leaders within the "Imperial Way" faction and had close ties to prominent rightist groups. If the emperor had either died or had been compelled to abdicate, Prince Chichibu would have received strong support from the rightists as the regent for Crown Prince Akihito. Still, in 1938 Prince Saionji expressed his worry that Prince Chichibu might someday usurp the throne by violent means. By October 1940, Prince Ch
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