Prime Minister of Japan

Article

October 19, 2021

The Prime Minister of Japan (内閣総理大臣, Naikaku-sōri-daijin?) is head of government of Japan. He is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being appointed by the Diet among its members and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to keep your post. He is the head of the Cabinet and appoints and dismisses Ministers of State. The literal translation of the Japanese name of the position is Ministry of Comprehensive Cabinet Administration or Presiding Ministry of Cabinet. The position was created in 1885, five years before the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution, which explicitly mentions neither the cabinet nor the Prime Minister. It took its current form with the adoption of the 1947 constitution. The current Prime Minister is Fumio Kishida, who took office on October 4, 2021 after the elections, replacing Yoshihide Suga.

Appointment

The Prime Minister is appointed by both houses of the Diet, before any other initiative is taken. For this purpose, each house conducts a vote under the two-shift system. If the two houses choose different individuals, then a joint committee from both houses is appointed to agree on a common candidate. Ultimately, however, if the two houses do not agree within ten days, the decision of the House of Representatives is considered to be that of the Diet. So the House of Representatives can theoretically secure the appointment of any Prime Minister it wants. The candidate is then presented with his commission and formally appointed by the Emperor.

Requirements

Must be a member of one of the Diet Chambers (this implies a minimum age requirement of 25 and Japanese nationality). Must be a "civilian". This excludes members who are serving Japan's Self-Defense Forces, as well as any former member of the Japanese Imperial Army or Japanese Imperial Navy, who are strongly connected to militaristic thinking. Note that former World War II military officers can be appointed Prime Minister despite the requirement to be "civilian". An example is Yasuhiro Nakasone.

Functions

Constitutional functions

It exercises "control and supervision" over the entire executive branch. Presents accounts to the Diet on behalf of the Cabinet. Signs Cabinet laws and orders (along with other Cabinet members). Appoints all Cabinet ministers and may remove them at any time. May allow legal action to be taken against Cabinet members. Must report on internal and foreign relations to the Diet. Should report to the Diet, when requested, to provide answers and explanations. It can dissolve the Diet House of Representatives.

Statutory functions

Chairs Cabinet meetings. Commander-in-Chief of the Japan Self-Defense Forces. It can nullify a writ of mandamus against an administrative act by stating its reasons.

Badge

Official office and residence

The Office of the Prime Minister of Japan is called the Kantei (官邸). The original Kantei operated from 1929 to 2002, when a new building was opened to serve as the current Kantei. The old Kantei was converted to the Official Residence, or Kōtei (公邸). Kōtei is southwest of Kantei and is connected by a walkway.

Honors and Decorations

Until the mid-1930s, the Prime Minister of Japan was normally granted a title of nobility (kazoku) before leaving office, if he did not already have one. Titles were generally awarded at the level of Earl, Viscount or Baron, depending on their achievements and Prime Minister status. The two highest levels, marquis and prince, were granted only to highly distinguished statesmen, and were no longer granted to a Prime Minister after 1928. The last Prime Minister to be given a title was Kijuro Shidehara, who served from October

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