Elections Voting system in Japan

Elections/Voting system in Japan

As of 2017, voting in Japanese elections is limited to Japanese citizens. It needs to be noted that there are lifelong and even multi-generational residents of Japan that are not citizens of the country.

Over the years there have been various challenges and campaigns to extend the voting rights to include these “special long-term” permanent residents. As of 2017 permanent residents of whatever status do not have voting rights.

Japan has a family registry system, wherein by law Japanese households are required to report births, deaths, adoptions, marriages, and divorces to their local municipality. In that sense when a family member reaches the voting age they are automatically added to the voter registration list.

Coming to the procedures of elections in Japan, Japan has a systematic Democratic system just equivalent to the government of the United States. The electoral system of Japan is different where the representatives are elected to the national parliament, the Diet. The Diet is divided into an Upper House which is the “House of Councillors” and the Lower House which is the “House of Representatives”. Japan has a parliamentary government headed by Prime Minister and a constitutional monarchy headed by the emperor. Just like the United States government, the government of Japan has three branches: executive, judicial and legislative.

Executive Branch: – The executive branch of government is largely the domain of the Prime Minister who is responsible for a range of constitutional duties, such as signing laws and proposing bills. The role of prime minister is subject to public election every 4 years, whereas the role of the emperor is inherited.

Judicial Branch: – The judicial branch is headed by the Saiko Saibansho, Japan’s equivalent of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court chief justice, whose election cycle lasts 10 years, is responsible for upholding the constitution.

Legislative Branch: – This branch is represented by the National Diet, which is responsible for approving budgets, making laws and drafting constitutional amendments. The branch is split into the Lower 480-seat House of Representatives and the highest 282-seat House of Councillors, which has greater powers and can delay the lower houses budget or treaty decisions.  The minimum age for voting in Japan is 20.

The Japanese political system has three types of elections: General elections, elections to the House of Councillors and local elections. Out of which General Elections are held every four year unless the house gets dissolved. Elections to the House of Councillors are held every three years to choose one-half of its members and local elections held every four years for offices in prefectures, cities and villages.

The 49thgeneral election of members of the House of Representatives is scheduled on or before 22 October 2021 as per the requirement of the Constitution of Japan. In this procedure there are all 465 seats to the House of Representatives of Japan, out of which 233 seats are needed for a majority.

Japan is a country where there is only one single legislative authority, which drafts and passes all legislation, and has a ceremonial monarchy. The likes of the UK, Spain and the Netherlands in Europe have very similar systems.

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