House of Councillors (Japan)

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Coordinates: 35°40′35.5″N 139°44′40.5″E / 35.676528°N 139.744583°E / 35.676528; 139.744583

This article is about Japan. For Morocco, see House of Councillors (Morocco). For South Korea, see House of Councillors (South Korea).
House of Councillors
Coat of arms or logo
Chūichi Date, LDP (caucus: independent)
Since August 1, 2016
Akira Gunji, DP (caucus: independent)
Since August 1, 2016
Opposition leader
Renhō, DP
Since September 15, 2016
Seats 242
Political groups

Party strength before 191st Diet[1][2][3] Government (146)

  LDP (121)
  Kōmeitō (25)

Revisionist opposition (15)

  Initiatives (12)
  PJK (3)

Other opposition (69)

  DP (49)
  JCP (14)
  Energize (2)
  SDP (2)
  LP (2)

Independents & others (12)

  Government-aligned independents (3)
  Opposition-aligned independents (5)
  OSMP (1)
  Other independents (3)
Parallel voting:
Single non-transferable vote (146 seats)
Party-list proportional representation (96 seats)
Staggered elections
Last election
July 10, 2016
Meeting place
Japanese diet inside.jpg
National Diet Building, Tokyo
Imperial Seal of Japan.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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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. [4]

Current composition[edit]

(as of January 25, 2016 [193rd National Diet])[5]

Caucus (English name)
(domestic name)
Term expires Total
July 25, 2022 July 28, 2019
Liberal Democratic Party and The Party for Japanese Kokoro
56 70 126
  The Democratic Party and The Shin-Ryokufukai
Minshintō・Shin-Ryokufūkai (~"Dem. Prog. Party, New Ryokufūkai")
32 18 50
Kōmeitō (~"Justice/Fairness Party")
14 11 25
Japanese Communist Party
Nihon Kyōsantō
6 8 14
Nippon Ishin(Japan Innovation Party)
Nippon Ishin no Kai (~"Japan Innovation/Restoration Association")
7 5 12
Hope Coalition (Kibou)
Kibō no kai (jiyū, shamin) (~"Assembly of hope (LP, SDP)")
4 2 6
Independents Club
Mushozoku kurabu
0 4 4
Okinawa Whirlwind
Okinawa no kaze (~"Wind of Okinawa")
1 1 2
(Members who do not sit with a caucus, includes Pres., Vice Pres.)
1 2 3
Total 121 121 242

For a list of individual members, see the List of members of the Diet of Japan.

Latest election[edit]

Japanese House of Councillors election, 2016

Historical notes[edit]

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.[6] 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.[6] Further reforms to address malapportinoment took effect in 2007 and 2016, but did not change the total number of members in the house.[6]

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.[6] It was originally intended to give nationally prominent figures a route to the House without going through local electioneering processes.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] Shintaro Ishihara won a record 3 million votes in the national block in the 1968 election.[citation needed] The national block was last seen in the 1980 election and was replaced with a nation-wide proportional representation block in the 1983 election.[6] The national proportional representation block was reduced to 96 members in the 2000 reforms.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NHK: Results of the 2016 regular election
  2. ^ Yomiuri Shimbun: 2016 election results
  3. ^ Asahi Shimbun: 2016 election results
  4. ^ Hayes 2009, p. 50
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ a b c d e f "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

External links[edit]