A country of culture, a place of the ninjas and shoguns, and a society of technology, that is Japan. In this article, you will be able to learn about the Japanese government systems (constitutional monarchy), with the Diet as the legislative branch, the cabinet headed by the Prime Minister as the executive branch, and the different courts comprising of the Supreme Court, The High Court etc. as the judicial branch.
Led by the Prime Minister, the executive branch of the Japanese government system, called the cabinet, consists of the cabinet Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is designated by the Diet, the legislative branch of the government, and the rest of the ministers and officials in the cabinet are appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister.
The powers of the cabinet consist of two types: one of which is exercised via the emperor, and its own explicit powers.
Under the powers exercised by the emperor includes: the convocation of the Diet, dissolution of the House of Representatives, proclamation of general elections to the Diet, and conferring of honors.
Under the explicit powers, there is the execution of the law, conduct of foreign affairs, conclusion of treaties, administration of the civil service, drafting of the budget, adoption of cabinet orders, granting of general amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration rights, signing of law or cabinet order and the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court.
The legislative branch of Japan’s government system is the National Diet of Japan. The Diet consists of a lower house and an upper house, being the House of Representatives and The House of Councilors respectively.
The upper house, which is the house of councilors, consists of 242 members who serves 6 years terms, of which 146 are elected from 47 prefectural constituencies by the ‘Single Non- Transferable Vote’ while the rest are elected by party list PR from a single national list.
The lower house, which is the House of Representatives, has 480 seats and members, who serve 4 years terms. 300 of these seats are elected from single member constituencies while the others are elected from 11 multi member constituencies by a system of proportional representation.
The diet, being the “highest organ of state power” and the “sole law-making organ of the State” under Article 41 of the Constitution, contains powers that affect the country in a big way. The powers of the diet include the making of law and the approval of the annual budget submitted by the government, the ratification of treaties, initiate draft constitutional amendments, ability to conduct investigation with relation to government, designation of Prime Minister (showing its control over the executive branch), the power to dissolve the government if a motion of no confidence is passed by the diet with fifty members and the power to impeach judges convicted of criminal or irregular conduct.
The emperor of Japan is also under the legislative branch, but often with the use of representing the unity and symbol of Japan.
If there happens a case of the two houses disagreeing on the issues of budget, treaties or designation of Prime Minister, the House of Representatives has the authority to insist on its decision. For all other issues, the House of Representatives can override the House of Councilors with a two thirds majority.
The judicial branch of the government system of Japan consists of all the courts and judges, with the purpose of upholding the law created by the nation diet.
There are 438 summary courts with the purpose of handling small civil cases and minor criminal offences.
There is one district court per prefecture except for Hokkaido which has 4, with the purpose of felony and civil cases with claims of more than 1400000 yen and bankruptcy hearings.
There are 8 high courts, as well as some branch offices serving as an appeal from district or summary courts.
Then, there is the Supreme Court, acting as the highest court in Japan. There is a ‘Grand Bench’ of the Supreme Court, consisting of 15 justices, appointed by the Cabinet with the approval of the Emperor even though the Emperor cannot reject. Appeals from high courts must have an error in interpretation of the Constitution or case law to be approved by ‘petty benches’ consisting of 5 justices.
In conclusion, the Constitutional Monarchy of Japan shows us that the Emperor has limited power, acting mainly as a symbol of unity for Japan. It is mainly based on democracy, with the legislative branch seemingly having a larger share of power. If another kind of system such as communism were to be implemented in Japan, it would most likely not work due to the high speed of advancement in Japan in terms of economy and technology, while communism is known to moderate this speed throughout the whole country, slowing the country down.
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