Government of Japan
Parliamentary Representative Democratic Monarchy:
Politics of Japan takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government, and of a platform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Diet with the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Sovereignty is vested in Japanese nationals by whom officials are elected in all of the branches. There is universal adult suffrage with a secret ballot. For historical reasons, the system is similar to that in the United Kingdom.
Recession in 1990's:
• Administrative Division : 47 prefectures
• Capital: Tokyo (since 1867; previously Kyoto)
• Head of State: Emperor Akihito (since 1989)
• Type of Government: Parliamentary Monarchy
• Parliamentary System : bicameral Diet (lower House of Representatives and upper House of Councilors
Parliament (the Diet): Similar to the UK
The Constitution of Japan states that the nation's "highest organ of state power" is its bicameral parliament, the National Diet (Kokkai). The Diet consists of a House of Representatives (Lower House or Shūgi- in) containing 480 seats, elected by popular vote every 4 years or when dissolved, and a House of Councilors (Upper House or Sangi-in) of 242 seats, whose popularly-elected members serve six-year terms. There is universal adult (over 20 years old) suffrage, with a secret ballot for all elective offices.
The Cabinet is composed of a Prime Minister and ministers of state, and is responsible to the Diet. The Prime Minister must be a member of the Diet, and is designated by his colleagues. The Prime Minister has the power to appoint and remove ministers, a majority of whom must be Diet members. The liberal conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has been in power since 1955, except for a short-lived coalition government formed from its opposition parties in 1993; the largest opposition party is the liberal-socialist Democratic Party of Japan.
Head of State: Emperor Akihito
The Emperor (tenno, literally "heavenly sovereign") is defined by the Constitution as "the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people" and is the head of the Imperial family and he is the head of state. He is a ceremonial figurehead in a constitutional monarchy and does not wield even emergency reserve powers. Power is mainly held by the Prime Minister, and other elected members of the Diet.
Sovereignty is vested in the Japanese people by the constitution.
Foreign Relations: Close with the United States
- Japan maintains close economic and military relations with its key ally and partner, the United States, and therefore the US-Japan security alliance serves as the cornerstone of its foreign policy.
For example Japan contributed non-combatant troops to the Operation Iraqi Freedom with the United States and others. Japan is a member state of the United Nations and currently serving as a non-permanent Security Council member. It is also one of the "G4 nations" seeking permanent membership in the Security Council.
Japan is a member of the G8, the APEC, the "ASEAN plus three", and a participant in the East Asia Summit. Japan is also the world's second- largest donor of official development assistance, donating 0.19% of its GNP in 2004. As member of the G8 Japan maintains cordial relations with most countries as a key trading partner.
Military: Sixth largest in the world
Japan's military is restricted by Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan of 1947, which states that "the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes." Thus, Japan's current constitution prohibits the use of military force to wage war against other countries.
The military budget of Japan is less than one percent of its GDP, and it is estimated to be the sixth largest in the world at around $45 billion per year. The forces have been recently used in peacekeeping operations and Japan's recent deployment of non-combat troops to Iraq marked the first overseas use of its military since World War II.