127,103,388 13

Population (as of May 20, 2015)

Elections in our database


Registered Voters (as of )

Average Turnout

Name Official Name Type
Emperor Emperor Head of State
House of Representatives Shugiin Lower House
House of Councillors Sangiin Upper House
Prime Minister Prime Minister Head of Government

Description of government structure:

  • Chief of State: Emperor  *
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Shinzō ABE
  • Assembly: Japan has a bicameral Diet (Kokkai) consisting of the House of Councillors (Sangiin) with 242 seats and the House of Representatives (Shugiin) with 480 seats.

* Japan's emperor, AKHITO serves as a symbolic figurehead of the nation's past. Unlike other monarchies, the emperor of Japan is not even the nominal head of state. Japan's Constitution, written in 1947, demoted the emperor to a “symbol of the state and of the unity of the people,” stripping the emperor of all “powers related to government.”

Description of electoral system:

  • Prime Minister is appointed by parliament.
  • In the House of Councillors (Sangiin), 96 members are elected through an open-list proportional representation system to serve 6-year terms and 146 members are elected by single non-transferable vote to serve 6-year terms*. In the House of Representatives (Shugiin), 300 members are elected by plurality vote in single-member constituencies to serve 4-year terms and 180 members are elected through a closed-list proportional representation system to serve 4-year terms.**

* Terms are staggered with one half of each tier elected every election. In the ordinal tier, there is one nationwide district. In the nominal tier, constituencies correspond to prefectural or metropolitan boundaries. There are 47 constituencies with magnitudes ranging from 2 and 10 seats. Because half of all members are up for reelection every cycle, 29 members run in single-seat districts (their fellow district representative is not running) and 44 members run in 18 multi-member districts consisting of anywhere between 2 and 5 seats. In order to secure a seat, a candidate must obtain enough votes that are equal to or greater than one-sixth of the total number of valid votes divided by the number of contested seats in the district.

** In the proportional representation tier, there are 11 multi-member districts consisting of anywhere between 6 and 29 seats. Candidacy in both tiers is permitted, however, candidates are only allowed to run in the proportional representation block in which their single-seat constituency is located. Candidates running in single-member districts must secure one-sixth of all votes to win a seat.

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Election For Date Votes Registered Voters Turn Out
House of Councillors 1998-07-12 58,277,096 99,048,700 58.84%
House of Representatives 2000-06-25 62,749,854 100,492,328 62.44%
House of Councillors 2001-07-29 57,151,380 101,309,680 56.41%
House of Representatives 2003-11-09 61,189,807 102,232,944 59.85%
House of Councillors 2004-07-11 58,001,825 102,588,411 56.54%
House of Representatives 2005-09-11 69,532,186 103,067,966 67.46%
House of Councillors 2007-07-29 60,567,131 103,356,879 58.6%
House of Representatives 2009-08-30 72,003,538 103,949,442 69.27%
House of Councillors 2010-07-11 58,453,413 103,356,879 56.55%
House of Representatives 2012-12-16 59,819,888 103,949,442 57.55%
House of Councillors 2013-07-21 52,816,886 103,959,866 50.81%
House of Representatives 2014-12-14 53,334,447 101,280,758 52.66%
House of Councillors 2016-07-31 - - -

Voter Turnout