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Cabinet of Japan

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Cabinet of Japan

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The Cabinet of Japan (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 fourteen 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 House of Representatives.

The modern Japanese Cabinet was established in December 1885. It replaced the Dajō-kan that had been reactivated after the Meiji restoration as a modernized variation of the Daijō-kan, the imperial administration since the Nara period. The prime minister and the cabinet were appointed by and responsible to the Emperor. The cabinet system was continued under the Constitution of the Empire of Japan of 1889-1947. During the U.S.-led allied postwar occupation, the cabinet was reformed by Constitution of Japan which came into effect in 1947; since, the prime minister is elected by the Diet and the cabinet is responsible to the Diet.


  • Appointment 1
  • Powers 2
    • Powers exercised via the Emperor 2.1
    • Explicit powers 2.2
  • Current Cabinet of Japan 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


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 (but may be members of either house), and all members must be civilians. Under the 2001 Cabinet Law, the number of Cabinet Ministers (excluding the Prime Minister) must be fourteen or less, but this may be increased to seventeen 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 every minister will then be 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, he exercises "control and supervision" over the executive branch, and no law or Cabinet order can take effect without his countersignature. While Cabinet Ministers in most other parliamentary regimes theoretically have some freedom of action (within the limits of collective responsibility), the Japanese Cabinet is effectively an extension of the Prime Minister's authority.

A paulownia flower pattern is routinely considered to be a symbol of the Japanese prime minister and cabinet.

Powers exercised via the Emperor

  • Convocation of the Diet.
  • Dissolution of the House of Representatives.
  • Proclamation of general elections to the Diet
  • Conferring of honours.

Explicit powers

  • 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.
  • Every law or cabinet order is signed by the relevant Minister of State and countersigned by the Prime Minister.
  • Appointment of the associate justices of the Supreme Court of Japan (except the Chief Justice, who is designated by the Prime Minister and formally appointed by the Emperor).
  • Appointment of vice-ministers (who are nominated by the minister to whom they will report).

Current Cabinet of Japan

The members of the current cabinet of Japan headed by the Liberal Democratic Party lawmaker Shinzō Abe as of 21 October 2014 are as follows:

Office Incumbent
Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Finance
Minister of State for Financial Services
Minister of State for Overcoming Deflation
Tarō Asō
Minister for Internal Affairs and Communications Sanae Takaichi
Minister for Justice Yoko Kamikawa
Minister for Foreign Affairs Fumio Kishida
Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology
Minister of State for Education Rebuilding
Minister of State for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games
Hakubun Shimomura
Minister for Health, Labour and Welfare Yasuhisa Shiozaki
Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Koya Nishikawa
Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry
Minister of State for Industrial Competitiveness
Minister of State for the Response to the Economic Impact caused by the Nuclear Accident
Minister of State for the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation
Yoichi Miyazawa
Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Minister of State for Water Cycle Policy
Akihiro Ota
Minister for the Environment
Minister of State for Nuclear Emergency Preparedness
Yoshio Mochizuki
Minister for Defence
Minister of State for Security Legislation
Akinori Eto
Chief Cabinet Secretary
Minister of State for Alleviating the Burden of the Bases in Okinawa
Yoshihide Suga
Minister of State for Reconstruction
Minister of State for Comprehensive Policy Coordination for Revival from the Nuclear Accident at Fukushima
Wataru Takeshita
Chairperson of the National Public Safety Commission
Minister of State for the Abduction Issue
Minister of State for Ocean Policy and Territorial Issues
Minister of State for Building National Resilience
Minister of State for Disaster Management
Eriko Yamatani
Minister of State for Okinawa and Northern Territories Affairs
Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy
Minister of State for Space Policy
Minister of State for Information Technology Policy
Minister of State for the Challenge Again Initiative
Minister of State for the Cool Japan Strategy
Shunichi Yamaguchi
Minister of State for Promoting Women's Active Participation
Minister of State for Administrative Reform
Minister of State for Civil Service Reform
Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety
Minister of State for Regulatory Reform
Minister of State for Measures for Declining Birthrate
Minister of State for Gender Equality
Haruko Arimura
Minister of State for Economic Revitalisation
Minister of State for Total Reform of Social Security and Tax
Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy
Akira Amari
Minister of State for Overcoming Population Decline and Vitalising Local Economy
Minister of State for National Strategic Special Zones
Shigeru Ishiba

See also


  • The Japan Times. "Cabinet Profiles" [since 2008]. The Japan Times Online. Accessed 13 October 2012 from:
  • Cabinet Secretariat, Office of Cabinet Public Relations, Japan (2003). Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet. Retrieved 28 Oct. 2003 from:
  • 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].

External links

  • 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
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