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 nineteen 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, the imperial administration since the Nara period, that had been reactivated after the Meiji restoration as its modernized variation. Under the Meiji Constitution, the Prime Minister and the cabinet were appointed by and responsible to the Emperor. Since the Constitution of Japan came into effect in 1947, the cabinet was reformed, with the prime minister being elected by the Diet and the cabinet being 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 Cabinet Law, the number of Cabinet Ministers (excluding the Prime Minister) must be fourteen or less, but this may be increased to nineteen 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 cabinet 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]

  • Promulgation of amendments to the laws, cabinet orders and treaties.
  • Convocation of the Diet.
  • Dissolution of the House of Representatives.
  • Proclamation of general elections to the Diet.
  • Receiving of foreign ambassadors and ministers.
  • 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.
  • Signing of laws or cabinet orders by the relevant Minister of State and countersigned by the Prime Minister.
  • Appointment of the associate justices of the Supreme Court of Japan (except for the Chief Justice, who is designated by the Prime Minister and formally appointed by the Emperor).
  • Appointment of vice-ministers (who are nominated by their respective 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 7 October 2015 are as follows:[1]

Office Incumbent
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Finance
Minister of State for Financial Services
Minister in charge of Overcoming Deflation
Tarō Asō
Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi
Minister of Justice Mitsuhide Iwaki
Minister of Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Minister in charge of Education Rebuilding
Hiroshi Hase
Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Hiroshi Moriyama
Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
Minister in charge of Industrial Competitiveness
Minister in charge of the Response to the Economic Impact caused by the Nuclear Accident
Minister of State for the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation
Motoo Hayashi
Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Minister in charge of Water Cycle Policy
Keiichi Ishii
Minister of the Environment
Minister of State for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
Tamayo Marukawa
Minister of Defence
Minister in charge of Security Legislation
Gen Nakatani
Chief Cabinet Secretary
Minister in charge of Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa
Yoshihide Suga
Minister of State for Reconstruction
Minister in charge of Comprehensive Policy Coordination for Revival from the Nuclear Accident at Fukushima
Tsuyoshi Takagi
Chairperson of the National Public Safety Commission
Minister in charge of Administrative Reform
Minister in charge of Civil Service Reform
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety
Minister of State for Regulatory Reform
Minister of State for Disaster Management
Taro Kono
Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy
Minister of State for Space Policy
Minister in charge of Ocean Policy and Territorial Issues
Minister in charge of Information Technology Policy
Minister in charge of "Cool Japan" Strategy
Aiko Shimajiri
Minister in charge of Economic Revitalisation
Minister in charge of Total Reform of Social Security and Tax
Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy
Akira Amari
Minister in Charge of Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens
Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment
Minister in charge of "Challenge Again" Initiative
Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue
Minister in charge of Building National Resilience
Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate
Minister of State for Gender Equality
Katsunobu Katō
Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalising Local Economy in Japan
Minister of State for National Strategic Special Zones
Shigeru Ishiba
Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Toshiaki Endo

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


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