The National Diet is Japan's bicameral legislature. It is composed of a lower house called the House of Representatives, an upper house, called the House of Councillors. Both houses of the Diet are directly elected under parallel voting systems. In addition to passing laws, the Diet is formally responsible for selecting the Prime Minister; the Diet was first convened as the Imperial Diet in 1889 as a result of adopting the Meiji Constitution. The Diet took its current form in 1947 upon the adoption of the post-war constitution, which considers it the highest organ of state power; the National Diet Building is in Nagatachō, Tokyo. The houses of the Diet are both elected under parallel voting systems; this means that the seats to be filled in any given election are divided into two groups, each elected by a different method. Voters are asked to cast two votes: one for an individual candidate in a constituency, one for a party list. Any national of Japan at least 18 years of age may vote in these elections.
The age of 18 replaced 20 in 2016. Japan's parallel voting system is not to be confused with the Additional Member System used in many other nations; the Constitution of Japan does not specify the number of members of each house of the Diet, the voting system, or the necessary qualifications of those who may vote or be returned in parliamentary elections, thus allowing all of these things to be determined by law. However it does guarantee universal adult suffrage and a secret ballot, it insists that the electoral law must not discriminate in terms of "race, sex, social status, family origin, property or income". The election of Diet members is controlled by statutes passed by the Diet; this is a source of contention concerning re-apportionment of prefectures' seats in response to changes of population distribution. For example, the Liberal Democratic Party had controlled Japan for most of its post-war history, it gained much of its support from rural areas. During the post-war era, large numbers of people were relocating to the urban centers in the seeking of wealth.
The Supreme Court of Japan began exercising judicial review of apportionment laws following the Kurokawa decision of 1976, invalidating an election in which one district in Hyōgo Prefecture received five times the representation of another district in Osaka Prefecture. The Supreme Court has since indicated that the highest electoral imbalance permissible under Japanese law is 3:1, that any greater imbalance between any two districts is a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution. In recent elections the malapportionment ratio amounted to 4.8 in the House of Councillors and 2.3 in the House of Representatives. Candidates for the lower house must be 25 years old or older and 30 years or older for the upper house. All candidates must be Japanese nationals. Under Article 49 of Japan's Constitution, Diet members are paid about ¥1.3 million a month in salary. Each lawmaker is entitled to employ three secretaries with taxpayer funds, free Shinkansen tickets, four round-trip airplane tickets a month to enable them to travel back and forth to their home districts.
Article 41 of the Constitution describes the National Diet as "the highest organ of State power" and "the sole law-making organ of the State". This statement is in forceful contrast to the Meiji Constitution, which described the Emperor as the one who exercised legislative power with the consent of the Diet; the Diet's responsibilities include not only the making of laws but the approval of the annual national budget that the government submits and the ratification of treaties. It can initiate draft constitutional amendments, which, if approved, must be presented to the people in a referendum; the Diet may conduct "investigations in relation to government". The Prime Minister must be designated by Diet resolution, establishing the principle of legislative supremacy over executive government agencies; the government can be dissolved by the Diet if it passes a motion of no confidence introduced by fifty members of the House of Representatives. Government officials, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet members, are required to appear before Diet investigative committees and answer inquiries.
The Diet has the power to impeach judges convicted of criminal or irregular conduct. In most circumstances, in order to become law a bill must be first passed by both houses of the Diet and promulgated by the Emperor; this role of the Emperor is similar to the Royal Assent in some other nations. The House of Representatives is the more powerful chamber of the Diet. While the House of Representatives cannot overrule the House of Councillors on a bill, the House of Councillors can only delay the adoption of a budget or a treaty, approved by the House of Representatives, the House of Councillors has no power at all to prevent the lower house from selecting any Prime Minister it wishes. Furthermore, once appointed it is the confidence of the House of Representatives alone that the Prime Minister must enjoy in order to continue in office; the House of Representatives can overrule the upper house in the following circumstances: If a bill is adopted by the House of Representatives and either rejected, amended or not approved within 60 days by th
Prince Itō Hirobumi was a Japanese statesman and genrō. A London-educated samurai of the Chōshū Domain and an influential figure in the early Meiji Restoration government, he chaired the bureau which drafted the Meiji Constitution in the 1880s. Looking to the West for legal inspiration, Itō rejected the United States Constitution as too liberal and the Spanish Restoration as too despotic before drawing on the British and German models the Prussian Constitution of 1850. Dissatisfied with the prominent role of Christianity in European legal traditions, he substituted references to the more traditionally Japanese concept of kokutai or "national polity", which became the constitutional justification for imperial authority. In 1885, he became Japan's first Prime Minister, an office his constitutional bureau had introduced, he went on to hold the position four times, becoming one of the longest serving PMs in Japanese history, wielded considerable power out of office as the occasional head of Emperor Meiji's Privy Council.
A monarchist, Itō favoured a large, bureaucratic government and opposed the formation of political parties. His third term in government was ended by the consolidation of the opposition into the Kenseitō party in 1898, prompting him to found the Rikken Seiyūkai party in response, he resigned his fourth and final ministry in 1901 after growing weary of party politics, but served as head of the Privy Council twice more before his death. Itō's foreign policy was ambitious, he strengthened diplomatic ties with Western powers including Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Asia he oversaw the First Sino-Japanese War and negotiated Chinese surrender on terms aggressively favourable to Japan, including the annexation of Taiwan and the release of Korea from the Chinese Imperial tribute system. Itō sought to avoid a Russo-Japanese War through the policy of Man-Kan kōkan – surrendering Manchuria to the Russian sphere of influence in exchange for the acceptance of Japanese hegemony in Korea.
A diplomatic tour of the United States and Europe brought him to Saint Petersburg in November 1901, where he was unable to find compromise on this matter with Russian authorities. Soon the government of Katsura Tarō elected to abandon the pursuit of Man-Kan kōkan, tensions with Russia continued to escalate towards war; the Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 made Itō the first Japanese Resident-General of Korea. He supported the sovereignty of the indigenous Joseon monarchy as a protectorate under Japan, but he accepted and agreed with the powerful Imperial Japanese Army, which favoured the total annexation of Korea, resigning his position as Resident-General and taking a new position as the President of the Privy Council of Japan in 1909. Four months Itō was assassinated by Korean-independence activist and nationalist An Jung-geun in Manchuria; the annexation process was formalised by another treaty the following year after Ito's death. Through his daughter Ikuko, Itō was the father-in-law of politician and author Suematsu Kenchō.
Itō's birth name was Hayashi Risuke. His father Hayashi Jūzō was the adopted son of Mizui Buhei, an adopted son of Itō Yaemon's family, a lower-ranked samurai from Hagi in Chōshū Domain. Mizui Buhei was renamed Itō Naoemon. Mizui Jūzō took the name Itō Jūzō, Hayashi Risuke was renamed to Itō Shunsuke at first Itō Hirobumi, he was a student of Yoshida Shōin at the Shōka Sonjuku and joined the Sonnō jōi movement, together with Katsura Kogorō. Itō was chosen as one of the Chōshū Five who studied at University College London in 1863, the experience in Great Britain convinced him Japan needed to adopt Western ways. In 1864, Itō returned to Japan with fellow student Inoue Kaoru to attempt to warn Chōshū Domain against going to war with the foreign powers over the right of passage through the Straits of Shimonoseki. At that time, he met Ernest Satow for the first time a lifelong friend. After the Meiji Restoration of 1868, Itō was appointed governor of Hyōgo Prefecture, junior councilor for Foreign Affairs, sent to the United States in 1870 to study Western currency systems.
Returning to Japan in 1871, he established Japan's taxation system. That year, he was sent on the Iwakura Mission around the world as vice-envoy extraordinary, during which he won the confidence of Ōkubo Toshimichi, one of the leaders of the Meiji government. In 1873, Itō was made a full councilor, Minister of Public Works, in 1875 chairman of the first Assembly of Prefectural Governors, he participated in the Osaka Conference of 1875. After Ōkubo's assassination, he took over the post of Home Minister and secured a central position in the Meiji government. In 1881 he urged leaving himself in unchallenged control. Itō went to Europe in 1882 to study the constitutions of those countries, spending nearly 18 months away from Japan. While working on a constitution for Japan, he wrote the first Imperial Household Law and established the Japanese peerage system in 1884. In 1885, he negotiated the Convention of Tientsin with Li Hongzhang, normalizing Japan's diplomatic relations with Qing-dynasty China.
In 1885, based on European ideas, Itō established a cabinet system of government, replacing the Daijō-kan as the decision-making state organization, on December 22, 1885, he became the first prime minister of Japan. On April 30, 1888, Itō resigned as prime minister, but headed the new Privy Council to maintain power behind-the-scenes. In 1889, he b
Prince Fumimaro Konoe was a Japanese politician in the Empire of Japan who served as the 34th, 38th and 39th Prime Minister of Japan and founder/leader of the Imperial Rule Assistance Association. He was Prime Minister in the lead-up to Japan entering World War II. Prince Fumimaro Konoe was born into the ancient Fujiwara clan, was the heir of the Konoe family in Tokyo, his younger brother Hidemaro Konoye was a symphony conductor. Konoe's father, had been politically active, having organized the Anti-Russia Society in 1903. In 1904, Atsumaro's death left Konoe, at the age of 12, with the title of Prince, plenty of social standing but not much money, he studied Marxian economics at Kyoto Imperial University. In 1916, he automatically became a member of House of Peers according to his hereditary title. Prince Konoe lobbied to be included in the Japanese delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, 1919. In 1918, prior to Versailles, he published an essay titled "Reject the Anglo-American-Centered Peace".
Following a translation by American journalist Thomas Franklin Fairfax Millard, Japanese political advisor Saionji Kinmochi wrote a rebuttal in his journal, Millard's Review of the Far East. During the Paris peace conference, Konoe was one of the Japanese diplomats who proposed the Racial Equality Proposal for the Covenant of the League of Nations; when the Racial Equality Clause came up before the committee, the following nations voted for it: Japan, Serbia, Italy, Brazil and China, but the American President Woodrow Wilson overturned the vote by declaring that the clause needed unanimous support. Konoe took the rejection of the Racial Equality Clause badly, was afterwards known to have had a grudge against white people who he felt had humiliated Japan by rejecting the Racial Equality Clause. In 1925, Konoe gained favorable public attention by supporting a bill extending suffrage to all males aged 25 and over. In 1933, he was elected President of the House of Peers, he was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1934.
In June 1937, Prince Konoe became Prime Minister. One month Japanese troops clashed with Chinese troops near Peking in the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. Konoe dispatched three divisions of troops, admonishing the military to be sure not to escalate the conflict. Within three weeks the army launched a general assault. Konoe and his cabinet feared, he was unsure that Chiang Kai-shek could control his own forces. In August, Chinese sentries killed two Japanese marines who crashed a gate at a Chinese airfield in Shanghai. Konoe agreed with Army Minister General Hajime Sugiyama to send two divisions to defend Japanese honor; the Battle of Shanghai broke out. His cabinet issued a declaration, accusing both nationalist and communist Chinese of "increasingly provocative and insulting" behavior toward Japan. In December, Imperial General Headquarters, a structure autonomous from the civilian government being responsible only to the Emperor, ordered its forces in China to drive toward Nanjing, the Chinese capital.
Nanjing was captured within a few weeks, after which the Japanese Army committed the infamous Nanjing massacre, killing upwards of 250,000 civilians. After taking Nanking, the Japanese Army was doubtful about its ability to advance up the Yangtze river valley, favored taking up a German offer of mediation to end the war with China. Konoe by contrast, was not interested in peace, instead chose to escalate the war by suggesting deliberately humiliating terms that he knew Chiang Kai-shek would never accept, in order to win a "total victory" over China. In January 1938, Konoe's government announced that it would no longer deal with Chiang, but would await the development of a new regime; when asked for clarifications, Konoe said he meant more than just non-recognition of Chiang's regime but "rejected it" and would "eradicate it". The American historian Gerhard Weinberg wrote about Konoe's escalation of the war: "The one time in the decade between 1931 and 1941 that the civilian authorities in Tokyo mustered the energy and ingenuity to overrule the military on a major peace issue they did so with fatal results-fatal for Japan, fatal for China, for Konoe himself".
Meanwhile and the military pushed a National Mobilization Law through the Diet. This allowed the central government to control all material. Japanese victories continued at Xuzhou, Canton, Hanyang – but still the Chinese kept on fighting. Konoe, stating that he was tired of being a "robot" for the military, resigned in January 1939, was appointed chairman of the Privy Council. Kiichirō Hiranuma succeeded him as Prime Minister. Konoe was awarded the 1st class of the Order of the Rising Sun in 1939. Due to dissatisfaction with the policies of Prime Minister Mitsumasa Yonai, the Japanese Army demanded Konoe's recall as Prime Minister. On 23 June, Konoe resigned his position as Chairman of the Privy Council, on 16 July 1940, the Yonai cabinet resigned and Konoe was appointed Prime Minister. One of his first moves was to launch the League of Diet Members Supporting the Prosecution of the Holy War to counter opposition from politicians such as deputy Saitō Takao who had spoken against the Second Sino-Japanese War in the Diet on 2 February.
Against the advice of his political allies and the Emperor, Konoe appointed Yōsuke Matsuoka as his foreign minister. Matsuoka was popular with the Army and the Japanese public, having established himself as the man who angrily led Japan out of the League of Nations in 1933. Konoe and Matsuoka based their foreign pol
1924 Japanese general election
General elections were held in Japan on 10 May 1924. No party won a majority of seats, resulting in Kenseikai, Rikken Seiyūkai and the Kakushin Club forming the country's first coalition government led by Katō Takaaki; the 464 members of the House of Representatives were elected in 295 single-member constituencies, 68 two-member constituencies and 11 three-member constituencies. Voting was restricted to men aged over 25. A total of 972 candidates contested the elections, of which 265 were from Kenseikai, 242 from Seiyūhontō, 218 from Rikken Seiyūkai, 53 from the Kakushin Club and 194 from minor parties or running as independents
A political party is an organized group of people with common views, who come together to contest elections and hold power in the government. The party agrees on some proposed policies and programmes, with a view to promoting the collective good or furthering their supporters' interests. While there is some international commonality in the way political parties are recognized and in how they operate, there are many differences, some are significant. Many political parties have an ideological core, but some do not, many represent ideologies different from their ideology at the time the party was founded. Many countries, such as Germany and India, have several significant political parties, some nations have one-party systems, such as China and Cuba; the United States is in practice a two-party system but with many smaller parties participating and a high degree of autonomy for individual candidates. Political factions have existed in democratic societies since ancient times. Plato writes in his Republic on the formation of political cliques in Classical Athens, the tendency of Athenian citizens to vote according to factional loyalty rather than for the public good.
In the Roman Republic, Polybius coined the term ochlocracy to describe the tendency of politicians to mobilise popular factionalist sentiment against their political rivals. Factional politics remained a part of Roman political life through the Imperial period and beyond, the poet Juvenal coined the phrase "bread and circuses" to describe the political class pandering to the citizenry through diversionary entertainments rather than through arguments about policy. "Bread and circuses" survived as part of Byzantine political life - for example, the Nika revolt during the reign of Justinian was a riot between the "Blues" and the "Greens"—two chariot racing factions at the Hippodrome, who received patronage from different Senatorial factions and religious sects. The patricians who sponsored the Blues and the Greens competed with each other to hold grander games and public entertainments during electoral campaigns, in order to appeal to the citizenry of Constantinople; the first modern political factions, can be said to have originated in early modern Britain.
The first political factions, cohering around a basic, if fluid, set of principles, emerged from the Exclusion Crisis and Glorious Revolution in late 17th century England. The Whigs supported Protestant constitutional monarchy against absolute rule, they were interested in the citizens of United Kingdom being free from the aristocracy and opposed to any tyranny, however they supported the constitutional aristocracy and does not consider the British nobility abusive because of its limits; the leader of the Whigs was Robert Walpole, who maintained control of the government in the period 1721–1742. As the century wore on, the factions began to adopt more coherent political tendencies as the interests of their power bases began to diverge; the Whig party's initial base of support from the great aristocratic families widened to include the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants. As well as championing constitutional monarchy with strict limits on the monarch's power, the Whigs adamantly opposed a Catholic king as a threat to liberty, believed in extending toleration to nonconformist Protestants, or dissenters.
A major influence on the Whigs were the liberal political ideas of John Locke, the concepts of universal rights employed by Locke and Algernon Sidney. Although the Tories were out of office for half a century, for most of this period the Tories retained party cohesion, with occasional hopes of regaining office at the accession of George II and the downfall of the ministry of Sir Robert Walpole in 1742, they acted as a united, though unavailing, opposition to Whig corruption and scandals. At times they cooperated with the "Opposition Whigs", Whigs who were in opposition to the Whig government, they regained power with the accession of George III in 1760 under Lord Bute. When they lost power, the old Whig leadership dissolved into a decade of factional chaos with distinct "Grenvillite", "Bedfordite", "Rockinghamite", "Chathamite" factions successively in power, all referring to themselves as "Whigs". Out of this chaos, the first distinctive parties emerged; the first such party was the Rockingham Whigs under the leadership of Charles Watson-Wentworth and the intellectual guidance of the political philosopher Edmund Burke.
Burke laid out a philosophy that described the basic framework of the political party as "a body of men united for promoting by their joint endeavours the national interest, upon some particular principle in which they are all agreed". As opposed to the instability of the earlier factions, which were tied to a particular leader and could disintegrate if removed from power, the party was centred around a set of core principles and remained out of power as a united opposition to government. A coalition including the Rockingham Whigs, led by the Earl of She
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Japan)
The Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan is the Cabinet member responsible for Japanese foreign policy and the chief executive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since the end of the American occupation of Japan, the position has been one of the most powerful in the Cabinet, as Japan's economic interests have long relied on external relations; the recent efforts of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to establish a more interventionist foreign policy have heightened the importance of the position. The position is held by Tarō Kōno. Italics indicates subject served as Acting Foreign Minister. Bold indicates subject served concurrently as Prime Minister for a period of time. Liberal Imperial Family Progressive Socialist Democratic Democratic Liberal Liberal Democratic Liberal Democratic Japan Renewal Party Japan New Party Liberal League Democratic Foreign minister Foreign policy of Japan Minister's Profile at Ministry of Foreign Affairs website
Constitutional Democratic Party (Japan)
Rikken Minseitō was one of the main political parties in pre-war Empire of Japan. It was known as the'Minseitō'; the Minseitō was founded on 1 June 1927, by a merger of the Kenseikai and the Seiyu Hontō political parties. Its leadership included Osachi Hamaguchi, Wakatsuki Reijirō, Yamamoto Tatsuo, Takejirō Tokonami, Adachi Kenzō, Koizumi Matajirō and Saitō Takao; the party platform was politically and economically more liberal than its major rival, the Rikken Seiyūkai, calling for rule by the Diet of Japan rather than bureaucrats or genrō, elimination of disparities in wealth, international cooperation, protection of personal liberties. Its main base of support was the urban middle class, but its principal financial backing was the Mitsubishi zaibatsu; the Minseitō fielded many candidates in the February 1928 General Election, winning 217 seats in the Lower House, as opposed to 218 seats for the Seiyūkai. This resulted in a hung parliament. In the following 1930 General Election, the Minseitō took 273 seats, as opposed to 174 seats for the Seiyūkai, which gave it an absolute majority.
Minseitō president Osachi Hamaguchi, Herbert Bix referred to him as Hamaguchi Yūkō, became Prime Minister. Hamaguchi’s first priority was to address the effects of the 1929 Stock Market Crash through retrenchment of government spending, tightening the money supply and encouraging exports while stabilizing foreign investments through returning to a fixed exchange rate. During its tenure, the Minseitō advocated a conciliatory foreign policy, ratified the London Naval Agreement of 1930. However, Hamaguchi fell victim to an assassination attempt on 14 November 1930 when he was shot in Tokyo Station by a member of an ultranationalist secret society. Wakatsuki Reijirō became acting Prime Minister from the Minseitō. In 1931, Minseitō opposed the Mukden Incident, engineered by the Imperial Japanese Army; the anti-war Foreign Minister Kijūrō Shidehara and Prime Minister Reijirō came under strong criticism for their intervention in military affairs, were accused of "serious corruption", his government collapsed in 1931.
In the following 1932 General Election, some right-wing members defected to the Rikken Seiyūkai, which won an absolute majority of 301 seats. Seiyūkai president Inukai Tsuyoshi became prime minister; the Minseitō was able to recover a slight majority of 205 seats versus 175 seats for the Seiyūkai in the 1936 General Election only by adopting a more pro-military stance. However, the narrow margin again resulted in a hung parliament; the Minseitō dropped back down to 179 seats in the 1937 General Election, while the Seiyūkai retained all of its 175 seats, which continued the paralysis in the Diet of Japan. On 15 August 1940 the Minseitō voted to dissolve itself into the Imperial Rule Assistance Association as part of Fumimaro Konoe's efforts to create a one-party state, thereafter ceased to exist. Garon, Sheldon; the State and Labor in Modern Japan. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0-312-23915-7. Gordon, Andrew. A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-533922-3.
Sims, Richard. Japanese Political History Since the Meiji Renovation 1868-2000. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06838-6. Young, Louise. Japan's Total Empire: Manchuria and the Culture of Wartime Imperialism. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21934-1. Bix, Herbert P.. Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc. ISBN 0-06-019314-X