Cabinet of Japan
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The Cabinet (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 Diet.
Prior to the adoption of the Meiji Constitution, Japan had in practice no written constitution. Originally, a Chinese-inspired legal system and constitution known as ritsuryō was enacted in the 6th century in the late Asuka period and early Nara period. It described a government based on an elaborate and theoretically rational meritocratic bureaucracy, serving under the ultimate authority of the emperor and organised following Chinese models. In theory the last ritsuryō code, the Yōrō Code enacted in 752, was still in force at the time of the Meiji Restoration.
Under this system, the highest organ of Japan's pre-modern Imperial government during the Heian Japan and briefly under the Meiji Constitution was the Daijō-kan (太政官), the Great Council of State. It was headed by the Daijō-daijin (太政大臣?, Chancellor of the Realm). The council was replaced completely in December 1885 with the establishment of the modern cabinet system.
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, 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 the same prime minister is elected, appointed and every other minister is 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, the Prime Minister exercises "control and supervision" over the executive branch, and no law or Cabinet order can take effect without the Prime Minister's countersignature (and the Emperor's promulgation). 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.
Powers exercised via the Emperor
- 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.
- 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
|Prime Minister||Shinzō Abe|
|Deputy Prime Minister
Minister of Finance
Minister of State for Financial Services
Minister in charge of Overcoming Deflation
|Minister of Internal Affairs and Communications
Minister of State for the Social Security and Tax Number System
|Minister of Justice||Katsutoshi Kaneda|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs||Fumio Kishida|
|Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Minister in charge of Education Rebuilding
|Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare||Yasuhisa Shiozaki|
|Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries||Yuji Yamamoto|
|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
|Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Minister in charge of Water Cycle Policy
|Minister of the Environment
Minister of State for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
|Minister of Defence||Tomomi Inada|
|Chief Cabinet Secretary
Minister in charge of Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa
|Minister of State for Reconstruction
Minister in charge of Comprehensive Policy Coordination for Revival from the Nuclear Accident at Fukushima
|Chair of the National Public Safety Commission
Minister in charge of Ocean Policy and Territorial Issues
Minister in charge of Building National Resilience
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety
Minister of State for Disaster Management
|Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
Minister in charge of the Cool Japan Strategy
Minister in charge of the Intellectual Property Strategy
Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy
Minister of State for Space Policy
Minister in charge of Information Technology Policy
|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
|Minister in Charge of Promoting Dynamic Engagement of All Citizens
Minister in charge of Reforming Ways of Working
Minister in charge of Women's Empowerment
Minister in charge of the Challenge Again Initiative
Minister in charge of the Abduction Issue
Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate
Minister of State for Gender Equality
|Minister in charge of Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalising Local Economy in Japan
Minister of State for Regulatory Reform
Minister of State for National Strategic Special Zones
Minister in charge of Administrative Reform
Minister in charge of Civil Service Reform
|Minister in charge of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games||Tamayo Marukawa|
- The Japan Times. "Cabinet Profiles" [since 2008]. The Japan Times Online. Accessed 13 October 2012 from: http://www.japantimes.com/cabinets.htm
- Cabinet Secretariat, Office of Cabinet Public Relations, Japan (2003). Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet. Retrieved 28 Oct. 2003 from: http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/index-e.html
- Hunter, Janet (1984). Concise Dictionary of Modern Japanese History. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, pp. 266–324, Appendix 5: Japanese Cabinets Since the Introduction of the Cabinet System in 1885 [to 1980].
- Official Website of the Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet, Third Reshuffled Noda Cabinet
- List of Japanese cabinets (in Japanese only, Cabinets since 1996 in English)
- Cabinet Office
- Cabinet Secretariat (in Japanese only)
- Cabinet Legislation Bureau