House of Councillors (Japan)
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|House of Councillors
Revisionist opposition (15)
Other opposition (69)
Independents & others (12)
Government-aligned independents (3)
Opposition-aligned independents (5)
Other independents (3)
Single non-transferable vote (146 seats)
Party-list proportional representation (96 seats)
|July 10, 2016|
|National Diet Building, Tokyo|
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The House of Councillors (参議院 Sangiin?) is the upper house of the National Diet of Japan. The House of Representatives is the lower house. The House of Councillors is the successor to the pre-war House of Peers. If the two houses disagree on matters of the budget, treaties, or designation of the prime minister, the House of Representatives can insist on its decision. In other decisions, the House of Representatives can override a vote of the House of Councillors only by a two-thirds majority of members present.
The House of Councillors has 242 members who each serve six-year terms, two years longer than those of the House of Representatives. Councillors must be at least 30 years old, compared with 25 years old in the House of Representatives. The House cannot be dissolved, as only half of its membership is elected at each election. Of the 121 members subject to election each time, 73 are elected from the 47 prefectural districts (by single non-transferable vote) and 48 are elected from a nationwide list by proportional representation with open lists. 
(as of December 12, 2016 [192nd National Diet])
|Caucus (English name)
|July 25, 2022||July 28, 2019|
|Liberal Democratic Party
|The Democratic Party and The Shin-Ryokufukai
Minshintō・Shin-Ryokufūkai (~"Dem. Prog. Party, New Ryokufūkai")
Kōmeitō (~"Justice/Fairness Party")
|Japanese Communist Party
|Nippon Ishin(Japan Innovation Party)
Nippon Ishin no Kai (~"Japan Innovation/Restoration Association")
|Hope Coalition (Kibou)
Kibō no kai (jiyū, shamin) (~"Assembly of hope (LP, SDP)")
|The Party for Japanese Kokoro
Nippon no Kokoro (~"Japan's heart")
Okinawa no kaze (~"Wind of Okinawa")
(Members who do not sit with a caucus, includes Pres., Vice Pres.)
For a list of individual members, see the List of members of the Diet of Japan.
Article 102 of the Japanese Constitution provided that half of the councillors elected in the first House of Councillors election in 1947 would be up for re-election three years later in order to introduce staggered six-year terms.
The House initially had 250 seats. Two seats were added to the House in 1970 after the agreement on the repatriation of Okinawa, increasing the House to a total of 252. Legislation aimed at addressing malapportionment that favoured less-populated prefectures was introduced in 2000; this resulted in ten seats being removed (five each at the 2001 and 2004 elections), bringing the total number of seats to 242. Further reforms to address malapportinoment took effect in 2007 and 2016, but did not change the total number of members in the house.
From 1947 to 1983, the House had 100 seats allocated to a national block (全国区 zenkoku-ku?), of which fifty seats were allocated in each election. It was originally intended to give nationally prominent figures a route to the House without going through local electioneering processes. Some national political figures, such as feminists Shidzue Katō and Fusae Ichikawa and former Imperial Army general Kazushige Ugaki, were elected through the block, along with a number of celebrities such as comedian Yukio Aoshima (later Governor of Tokyo), journalist Hideo Den and actress Yūko Mochizuki. Shintaro Ishihara won a record 3 million votes in the national block in the 1968 election. The national block was last seen in the 1980 election and was replaced with a nation-wide proportional representation block in the 1983 election. The national proportional representation block was reduced to 96 members in the 2000 reforms.
- List of Speakers of the House of Councillors of Japan
- List of districts of the House of Councillors of Japan
- NHK: Results of the 2016 regular election
- Yomiuri Shimbun: 2016 election results
- Asahi Shimbun: 2016 election results
- Hayes 2009, p. 50
- House of Councillors: Members Strength of the Political Groups in the House (only caucus totals and female members; full Japanese version partitioned by class/end of term and election segment 会派別所属議員数一覧)
- "参議院議員選挙制度の変遷" [Changes to the electoral system of the House of Councillors] (in Japanese). Retrieved 12 December 2016.
- Hayes, L. D., 2009. Introduction to Japanese Politics. 5th ed. New York: M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 978-0-7656-2279-2