Politics of Tokyo
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politics and government of
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is headed by a publicly elected governor and metropolitan assembly. The headquarters building is in the ward of Shinjuku. They govern all of Tokyo prefecture, including lakes, rivers, dams, farms, remote islands, and national parks in addition to its famous neon jungle, skyscrapers and crowded subways. The governor of Tokyo is one of most powerful political figures in Japan, second only to the prime minister. As in all prefectures, the governor is elected every four years directly by the people; he heads the administration and has the right to initiate and veto legislation. Legislation, the budget and the confirmation of important administrative appointments – including the (in Tokyo: four) vice-governors – are handled by the prefectural assembly that is elected to four-year terms by single non-transferable vote in multi- and single-member districts.
Under Japanese law, Tokyo is designated as a to (都), translated as metropolis. Within Tokyo lie dozens of smaller entities, most of them conventionally referred to as cities. It includes twenty-three special wards (特別区 -ku) which until 1943 made up the city of Tokyo but which now have individual local governments, each with a leader and a council. In addition to these 23 local governments, Tokyo also encompasses 26 cities (市 -shi), five towns (町 -chō or machi), and eight villages (村 -son or -mura), each of which has a local government.
Tokyo sends 25 directly elected Representatives to the House of Representatives and a total of ten Councillors (five per election) to the House of Councillors. Additional members from Tokyo may be elected by proportional representation in both Houses; for the House of Representatives Tokyo forms one proportional representation constituency of its own.
In the 2012 Representatives election, Tokyo's districts directly elected 21 Liberal Democrats and two Democrats, Kōmeitō and Your Party won one seat each. After the 2010 and 2013 Councillors elections, Tokyo is represented in the upper house by three Liberal Democrats, two Democrats, two Kōmeitō members, one Communist, one member of Your Party and one independent.
Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly
The Metropolitan Assembly is the legislative organ of the whole prefecture of Tokyo. It consists of 127 members elected each four years. Regular sessions are held foutr times each year, in February, June, September and December. These sessions typically lasts for 30 days. Between these are plenary sessions where discussions on bills are held.
Past governors include:
- Ōki Takatō (1869)
- Yuri Kimimasa (1871–1872)
- Hachisuka Mochiaki (1890–1891), simultaneously mayor of Tokyo City (no independent administration until 1898)
- Tomita Tetsunosuke (1891–1893), simultaneously mayor of Tokyo City
- Seiichirō Yasui (1946–1947)
- elected governors
Political Parties & Elections
With the early elections for the Metropolitan Assembly in 1965 due to a corruption scandal, Tokyo became the first prefecture not to hold its assembly elections in the unified local elections (tōitsu chihō senkyo) when prefectural and municipal elections throughout the country take place in April every four years since 1947; by 2011, it was one of six prefectures not to do so, the others being Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Okinawa. Tokyo's gubernatorial elections had always been held as part of the unified local elections from 1947 to 2011. But following Shintarō Ishihara's resignation in October 2012, Tokyo held an early gubernatorial election in December 2012 and has left the unified election cycle.
The four largest established national political parties of the past decade (Liberal Democrats, Democrats, Kōmeitō, Communists) are represented in the Tokyo Assembly as well as a few local. The Social Democratic Party, formerly Japanese Socialist Party, which had been the second major party for much of the postwar era lost its one remaining seat in the 2001 election.
The last assembly election was held in June 2013. The LDP won 36 % of the vote and 59 of 127 seats in the Tokyo prefectural election, 2013. In the previous election of 2009, the Democratic Party had managed to become strongest party after forty years of LDP dominance. In 2012, the DPJ was reduced to fourth party with 15 seats (15.2 % of the vote) as the Kōmeitō won 23 seats (14.1 % of the vote) and Communists 17 seats (13.6 % of the vote).
- Tokyo gubernatorial election, 2007
- Tokyo gubernatorial election, 2003
- Tokyo prefectural election, 2001
- Fukada, Takahiro, "The second-most powerful job", Japan Times, 8 February 2011, p. 3.
- "Local Government in Japan" (PDF). Council of Local Authorities for International Relations. p. 41. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
- Functions of the Metropolitan Assembly
- National Governors Association: List of current governors (in Japanese; English version, updated less frequently)
- The Japan Times, June 25, 2001: LDP wins big in Tokyo assembly election. Koizumi gets resounding vote of confidence.
- Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly
- Tokyo Metropolitan Government
- Tokyo electoral commission: Local election schedule, 2013, Expiry dates of all prefectural and municipal mandates for chief executives (governor/mayors) and assemblies in Tokyo and the national Diet (also lists incumbent chief executives and number of assembly members) (in Japanese)
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