Cabinet of Japan

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The Cabinet of Japan (内閣 Naikaku?) is the executive branch of the government of Japan. It consists of the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the Emperor after being designated by the National Diet, and up to fourteen other members, called Ministers of State. The Prime Minister is designated by the Diet, and the remaining ministers are appointed and dismissed by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet is collectively responsible to the Diet and must resign if a motion of no confidence is adopted by the House of Representatives.

The modern Japanese Cabinet was established in December 1885. It replaced the Daijō-kan that had been reactivated after the Meiji restoration as a modernized variation of the Daijō-kan, the imperial administration since the Nara period. The prime minister and the cabinet were appointed by and responsible to the Emperor. The cabinet system was continued under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan of 1889-1947. During the U.S.-led allied postwar occupation, the cabinet was reformed by Constitution of Japan which came into effect in 1947; since, the prime minister is elected by the Diet and the cabinet is responsible to the Diet.


Under the constitution, Cabinet Ministers are appointed after the selection of the Prime Minister. A majority of the Cabinet, including the Prime Minister, must be members of the Diet (but may be members of either house), and all members must be civilians. Under the 2001 Cabinet Law, the number of Cabinet Ministers (excluding the Prime Minister) must be fourteen or less, but this may be increased to seventeen if a special need arises. In the event that the Cabinet collectively resigns it continues to exercise its functions until the appointment of a new Prime Minister. While they are in office, legal action may not be taken against Cabinet Ministers without the consent of the Prime Minister. The Cabinet must resign en masse in the following circumstances:

  • When a motion of no confidence is adopted, or a vote of confidence defeated, by the House of Representatives, unless there is a dissolution of the house within ten days.
  • Upon the first convocation of the Diet after a general election to the House of Representatives (even if every minister will then be reappointed).
  • When the position Prime Minister becomes vacant, or the Prime Minister declares his intention to resign.


The Cabinet exercises two kinds of power. Some of its powers, while in practice exercised in accordance with the binding instructions of the Cabinet, are nominally exercised by the Emperor with the "advice and approval" of the Cabinet. Its other class of powers are exercised by the Cabinet explicitly. Contrary to the practice in many constitutional monarchies, the Emperor of Japan is not even the nominal chief executive. Instead, the Constitution explicitly vests executive authority in the Cabinet.

In practice, much of the Cabinet's authority is exercised by the Prime Minister. Under the Constitution, he exercises "control and supervision" over the executive branch, and no law or Cabinet order can take effect without his countersignature. While Cabinet Ministers in most other parliamentary regimes theoretically have some freedom of action (within the limits of collective responsibility), the Japanese Cabinet is effectively an extension of the Prime Minister's authority.

A paulownia flower pattern is routinely considered to be a symbol of the Japanese prime minister and cabinet.

Powers exercised via the Emperor[edit]

  • Convocation of the Diet.
  • Dissolution of the House of Representatives.
  • Proclamation of general elections to the Diet
  • Conferring of honours.

Explicit powers[edit]

  • Execution of the law.
  • Conduct of foreign affairs.
  • Conclusion of treaties (with the consent of the Diet).
  • Administration of the civil service.
  • Drafting of the budget (which must be adopted by the Diet).
  • Adoption of cabinet orders.
  • Granting of general amnesty, special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
  • Every law or cabinet order is signed by the relevant Minister of State and countersigned by the Prime Minister.
  • Appointment of the associate justices of the Supreme Court of Japan (except the Chief Justice, who is designated by the Prime Minister and formally appointed by the Emperor).
  • Appointment of vice-ministers (who are nominated by the minister to whom they will report).

Current Cabinet of Japan[edit]

The members of the current cabinet of Japan headed by the Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Shinzō Abe as of 23 February 2015 are as follows:[1]

Office Incumbent
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Finance
Minister of State for Financial Services
Minister in charge for Overcoming Deflation
Tarō Asō
Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi
Minister for Justice Yoko Kamikawa
Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida
Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Minister in charge for Education Rebuilding
Minister in charge for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games
Hakubun Shimomura
Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki
Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Yoshimasa Hayashi
Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry
Minister in charge for Industrial Competitiveness
Minister in charge for the Response to the Economic Impact caused by the Nuclear Accident
Minister of State for the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation
Yoichi Miyazawa
Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Minister in charge for Water Cycle Policy
Akihiro Ota
Minister for the Environment
Minister of State for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
Yoshio Mochizuki
Minister for Defence
Minister in charge for Security Legislation
Gen Nakatani
Chief Cabinet Secretary
Minister in charge for Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa
Yoshihide Suga
Minister of State for Reconstruction
Minister in charge for Comprehensive Policy Coordination for Revival from the Nuclear Accident at Fukushima
Wataru Takeshita
Chairperson of the National Public Safety Commission
Minister in charge for the Abduction Issue
Minister in charge for Ocean Policy and Territorial Issues
Minister in charge for Building National Resilience
Minister of State for Disaster Management
Eriko Yamatani
Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety
Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy
Minister of State for Space Policy
Minister in charge for Information Technology Policy
Minister in charge for the Challenge Again Initiative
Minister in charge for the Cool Japan Strategy
Shunichi Yamaguchi
Minister in charge for Economic Revitalisation
Minister in charge for Total Reform of Social Security and Tax
Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy
Akira Amari
Minister in charge for Women's Empowerment
Minister in charge for Administrative Reform
Minister in charge for Civil Service Reform
Minister of State for Regulatory Reform
Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate
Minister of State for Gender Equality
Haruko Arimura
Minister in charge for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalising Local Economy
Minister of State for National Strategic Special Zones
Shigeru Ishiba

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


  1. ^ "List of Ministers". 24 December 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2015.