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Sandra Rivas-Cole.

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     The Japanese Government consists of a constitutional monarchy with the emperor set as a symbol rather than a major player.  The legislature, called the "Diet", is elected by the people and consists of the upper house (House of Councilors) and the lower house (House of Representatives).  There are 480 members to the House of Representatives and 242 members to the House of Councilors.  Elections for the lower house are made every four years and elections for the upper house are made every three.  There are 47 administrative divisions in Japan.  Forty-three prefectures, two urban prefectures (Kyoto and Osaka), one metro district (Tokyo), and one separate district (Hokkaido).  Each city is divided into wards, then precincts, and finally counties.

     The executive sector of the government consists of a cabinet that is headed by the Prime Minister.  The prime minister is elected by the diet and the cabinet consists of ministers that are appointed by the prime minister from members of the Diet.

     The judiciary system in Japan is similar to the United States.  The highest court is the Supreme Court.  The lower courts consist of district courts, high courths, family courts and summary courts.  Judges are appointed by ministers from the cabinet.

     There are two major parties in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the Social Democratic Party of Japan (SDPJ).  There are other parties such as the Sakigake Party, Shinseito, Komeito, and Japan New Party.  The minimum voting age is 20. 


     There are many religions in Japan but the two biggest are Shinto and Buddhism.  Most Japanese consider themselves one or the other.  Religion in Japan does not play a big role in everyday life but it plays a major role in festivals, births, deaths, and weddings.  Many Japanese visit a shrine or temple on New Year's Eve and Day.  In order to read about the religions of Japan, please click on the name below.  A pop-up window will open unless you have a pop-up blocker.  Please turn off the pop-up blocker to fully enjoy the site.

  Buddhism 

  Shinto 

  Zen 

  Confucianism 

  Christianity 

     Due to the fact that religious rituals are such a big part of weddings and funerals, I decided to include those in this section.  Enjoy!

  Japanese Weddings 

  Japanese Funerals