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House of Councils
logo Boardroom of the House of Councils
logo Boardroom of the House of Councils
Basic data
Seat: Kokkai gijidō , Nagatachō , Chiyoda , Tokyo
MPs: 245
Current legislative period
Last choice: July 21, 2019
Chair: President
Akiko Santō ,
non-attached ( LDP )

Deputy President
Toshio Ogawa ,
non-attached ( KDP )

Distribution of seats: Fractions June 19, 2020, after 201st NV

Government factions (141)

  • LDP / Voice of the People ( LDP + non-party) 113
  • Kōmeitō 28
  • Opposition factions (97)
  • KDP / DVP / Shinryokufūkai / SDP ( KDP + DVP + SDP + non-party) 60
  • Ishin 16
  • KPY 13
  • Wind of Okinawa (Okinawa socialists + non-party) 2
  • Hekisuikai (non-party) 2
  • Minna no Tō ( NKoku + non- party) 2
  • Reiwa Shinsengumi 2
  • Non-attached (7)
  • Non-attached (non-party + LDP + KDP) 7
  • Website

    The Sangiin ( Japanese 参議院 , literally: "House of Councils"; occasionally referred to as the Senate in Western publications ) is the upper house of the Kokkai , the Japanese parliament. It has 242 members, half of whom are re-elected every three years. The sangiin is subordinate to the shūgiin , the lower house, which determines the prime minister and has a preponderance in legislation.


    After the Meiji constitution of 1889, Japan was constitutionalized according to Prussian and British models and the Reichstag was set up as a two-chamber parliament . The House of Lords was the Kizokuin ( wurde , mansion), which, as in the United Kingdom , could include members of the nobility ( Kazoku ) and, as in the Kingdom of Prussia, other appointed members, including some members elected by the top taxpayers of each prefecture and members elected by academic institutions. In the 1947 constitution , the Kizokuin was abolished and replaced by the elected Sangiin.

    Composition and choice

    Half of the Sangiin is re-elected every three years, the term of office of the MPs is six years. Following reforms in 2018, the number of members of the Sangiin will be increased from 242 to 248 by the election in 2022. As with the Shūgiin today - there, however, majority voting exclusively in single-mandate constituencies and proportional representation in eleven regional constituencies ("blocks") - a trench election system with two votes is used in ordinary / regular Sangiin elections, i.e. two independent votes and seat allocation procedures for the 124 MPs to be elected for election:

    • 74 MPs are directly elected in 45 constituencies; 43 constituencies are congruent with prefectures , two constituencies that have been united since 2016 each consist of two neighboring prefectures: Tottori-Shimane and Kōchi-Tokushima. In each constituency, up to six MPs are elected by non-transferable individual votes - in the single constituencies, this is identical to a simple majority vote.
    • The remaining 50 MPs are elected at national level by proportional representation using the D'Hondt procedure . Since the 2001 election, voters have been able to influence which candidates are elected by specifying a single candidate from a party list , similar to the preferred vote in Austria, but without a quorum: the order of the list candidates, including those of potential successors , followed so far the number of preferential votes. From the 2019 election, however, parties can, if they want, put protected candidates at the top of their list.

    In contrast to the Shūgiin, a candidate cannot compete in both segments at the same time. Until 1980, instead of proportional representation, there was an entire country-wide constituency, in which candidates and not party lists were also elected.

    A candidate in a prefectural constituency must deposit 3,000,000 yen (around 27,000 euros in 2016) when registering , which will be refunded depending on his or her share of votes and the number of mandates in the constituency (votes of the candidate> valid votes × 1/8 ÷ number of mandates, i.e. in a one-mandate constituency from 12.5% ​​of the votes, in a two-mandate constituency 7.25% etc.). In the case of proportional representation, 6,000,000 yen must be deposited for each candidate on the list; a refund will be made if at least half of the party's list candidates have been elected. By way of comparison, for candidates for the British House of Commons , which are now elected exclusively in single-mandate constituencies , the deposit is now only £ 500, and a refund is made from 5% of the votes.

    Eligible are Japanese citizens over 30 years of age who have not been convicted of electoral offenses, corruption or serious crimes. Citizens over the age of 18 have been eligible to vote since 2016 ( in Japan, however, you are still not of legal age until you are 20, even if a reduction is socially discussed).

    Vacancies in the constituencies are filled by by -elections in April or October, within three months of regular elections or in the proportional constituency by substitutes. If regular Sangiin elections coincide with a by-election for a vacancy in the non-eligible half of the chamber, they will be held as a joint election: In a regular two-seat constituency e.g. B. three members are elected, whereby the two candidates with the highest percentage of votes are elected for six years, the third only for three years. In the same way, the first elections in each constituency were held in 1947 as a joint election to both halves of the chamber.

    The number of MPs from the constituencies is as follows:

    Constituency Number of mandates MPs
    Election 2016 Election 2019 ff. currently (2019-2022) from 2022
    (subject to further changes)
    TokyoTokyo Tokyo 6th 6th 12
    KanagawaKanagawa Kanagawa Aichi Osaka
    4 each 4 each 8 each
    SaitamaSaitama Saitama 3 4th 7th 8th
    HokkaidōHokkaidō Hokkaidō Chiba Hyōgo Fukuoka
    3 each 3 each 6 each
    IbarakiIbaraki Ibaraki Shizuoka Kyoto Hiroshima
    2 each 2 each 4 each
    TottoriTottori Tottori - Shimane (shared) Tokushima - Kōchi (shared) ShimaneShimane 
    TokushimaTokushima KochiKochi 
    1 each 1 each 2 each
    each of the 30 remaining prefectures 1 each 1 each 2 each
    Proportional representation constituency (nationwide) 48 50 98 100
    total 121 124 245 248


    In legislation, the Sangiin is subordinate to the Shūgiin, which can enforce a law in the event of a conflict with a two-thirds majority . In the election of the Prime Minister, in international treaties and in the budget, the Shūgiin's vote is decisive; if there is no vote on an international treaty adopted in the Shūgiin or on the budget in the Sangiin within 30 days, it is deemed to have been accepted. The consent of both companies is only required for certain personnel nominations. The initiation of referendums on constitutional amendments must be decided in both chambers with a two-thirds majority.

    The Sangiin can adopt a "complaint resolution" ( 問責 決議 , monseki ketsugi ) against the Prime Minister or individual ministers , which does not, however, result in a binding resignation. This has happened ten times so far, in 1998 against the head of the defense authority Fukushirō Nukaga , in 2008 against Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda , in 2009 against Prime Minister Tarō Asō and in 2010 against the ministers of state Yoshito Sengoku and Sumio Mabuchi , in 2011 against the defense minister Yasuo Ichikawa and the head of the National Public Security Commission Kenji Yamaoka , against Minister of Transport Takeshi Maeda and Minister of Defense Naoki Tanaka in 2012 and against Prime Minister Shinzō Abe in 2013 . All ten were passed in a "twisted parliament" , that is, with an opposition majority in the Sangiin.

    Institutional reform

    Since the Sangiin is subordinate to the Shūgiin in all decisive questions, there has been a debate about reform or abolition of the Sangiin since its establishment. The greater inequality of the election compared to the Shūgiin - in the extreme case in 1992, the voters in Tottori had 6.5 times the voting weight of those in Kanagawa - was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and recently corrected several times through constituency reforms at relatively short intervals.

    After the first clear loss of the government majority ( Nejire Kokkai ) in the Sangiin election in 1989 , the political weight of the Sangiin had initially increased, since the ruling parties usually did not have a two-thirds majority in the Shūgiin and usually tried to establish a consensus between the two chambers. For the first time since 1951, a government resorted to the anti-terrorism law in 2008 using a two-thirds majority in the Shūgiin to outvote an opposition majority in the Sangiin. If a government has a two-thirds majority in the Shūgiin and installs it, the institutional imbalance comes into play: Then the Sangiin can delay a bill, but not prevent it.

    Last election and current composition

    The last, 25th Sangiin election on July 21, 2019 led to the following result:

    Political party SNTV - or FPTP -
    Prefecture constituencies
    proportional representation
    Elected in 2019 New overall composition
    be right Seats be right Seats
    Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
    自由 民主党 Jiyūminshutō ( 自 / 自 民 / 自民党 )
    39.8% 38 35.4% 19th 57 113
    Constitutional Democratic Party (KDP)
    立憲 民主党 Rikken Minshutō ( 立 / 立 民 )
    15.8% 9 15.8% 8th 17th 32
    公 明 党 Kōmeitō ( 公 / 公 明 )
    7.8% 7th 13.1% 7th 14th 28
    Democratic People's Party (DVP)
    国民 民主党 Kokumin Minshutō ( 国 / 国民 )
    6.5% 3 7.0% 3 6th 21st
    Nippon Ishin no Kai (Ishin)
    日本 維新 の 会 Nippon Ishin no Kai ( 維 / 維新 )
    7.3% 5 9.8% 5 10 16
    Communist Party of Japan (CPJ)
    日本 共産党 Nihon Kyōsantō ( 共 / 共産党 )
    7.4% 3 9.0% 4th 7th 13
    Reiwa Shinsengumi
    れ い わ 新 選 組 Reiwa shinsengumi ( れ 新 / れ い 新 / れ い わ / ... )
    0.4% 0 4.6% 2 2 2
    Social Democratic Party (SDP)
    社会 民主党 Shakaiminshutō ( 社 / 社 民 / 社民党 )
    0.4% 0 2.1% 1 1 2
    NHK kara kokumin o mamoru tō
    NHK か ら 国民 を 守 る 党 enueichikei kara kokumin o mamoru tō ( N 国 / N 国 党 )
    3.0% 0 2.0% 1 1 1
    Others 1.1% 0 1.4% 0 0 0
    Independent [= without party nomination] 10.6% 9 - 9 17th
    total 100% 74 100% 50 124 245
    1. Status: election result, without any changes since then


    On August 1, 2019 (opening day of the 199th Kokkai), Akiko Santō (LDP, proportional representation) were elected President and Toshio Ogawa (KDP, Tokyo) as Vice President of the Sangiin.

    According to faction

    The parliamentary groups (as of June 18, 2020, after the 201st National Assembly) have the following strengths:

    (engl. Self-Identification)
    Party affiliations of the members MPs
    until July 25th, 2022 until 07/28/2025 total
    Relation To you. Relation To you. (Women)
    Jiyūminshutō ・ Kokumin no Koe (Liberal Democratic Party / Voice of the People)
    engl. Liberal Democratic Party and Voice of The People
    LDP , non-party 20th 38 58 18th 37 55 113 (18)
    Rikken ・ Kokumin ・ Shinryokufūkai ・ Shamin ("KDP / DVP / Shinryokufūkai / SDP")
    engl. The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and Democratic Party For the People and The Shin-Ryokufukai and Social Democratic Party
    KDP , DVP , SDP , non-party 12 20th 32 12 16 28 60 (18)
    Kōmeitō ("Justice Party")
    engl. Komeito
    Kōmeitō 7th 7th 14th 7th 7th 14th 28 (5)
    Nippon Ishin no Kai ("Assembly for the Renewal / Restoration of Japan")
    engl. Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party)
    Ishin 3 3 6th 5 5 10 16 (3)
    Nihon Kyōsantō (Communist Party of Japan)
    engl. Japanese Communist Party
    KPJ 5 1 6th 4th 3 7th 13 (5)
    Okinawa no kaze ("Wind of Okinawa")
    engl. Okinawa Whirlwind ("Whirlwind / Storm Okinawa")
    Okinawa Shakai Taishūtō / All Okinawa party alliance , non-party 0 1 1 0 1 1 2 (0)
    Reiwa Shinsengumi
    Reiwa Shinsengumi 0 0 0 2 0 2 2 (1)
    Hekisuikai (碧水 会 , ~ "Association 'blue water'")
    Engl. Hekisuikai
    Non-party ("independent" center-left opposition candidates) 0 0 0 0 2 2 2 (2)
    Minna no Tō ("party of all")
    engl. Your party
    NKoku , non-party or Minna no Tō (regional party founded in 2019) 1 0 1 1 0 1 2 (0)
    Non-attached LDP (President) , KDP (Vice President) , non-party 0 3 3 1 3 4th 7th (4)
    total 48 73 121 50 74 124 245 (56)

    Seating arrangements

    The seating arrangements at the beginning of the 25th Sangiin electoral term (199th National Assembly)
    A total of 245 seats

    The seating arrangement of the parliamentary groups, which is determined by the President of the Chamber at the beginning of a session, does not correspond to political left-right assignments, as is the case in some other parliaments, e.g. B. the German Bundestag, the case is (compare: Political spectrum # Influence on the seating arrangements in parliaments ). Instead, the strongest faction is placed in the middle, the smaller factions to the right and left of it. In the 55 party system, for example, the communists and socialists sat on the right for a long time, the ruling Liberal Democrats in the middle and the center-left opposition made up of Democratic Socialists and Kōmeitō on the left. At the first session of the Sangiin in 1947, the deputies were initially placed according to seniority.

    See also

    Web links

    Individual evidence

    1. a b 会 派別 所属 議員 数 一 覧 , accessed on June 19, 2020.
    2. Sōmushō , October 24, 2018: 参議院 議員 選 挙 制度 の 改正 に つ い て , accessed January 25, 2019.
    3. Upper House districts set for shake-up after electoral reform laws pass Diet. In: The Japan Times . July 28, 2015, accessed August 1, 2015 .
    4. Sangiin: Historical Changes in the Electoral System (Japanese)
    5. Interparliamentary Union , PARLINE database: Japon, Sangiin (Chambre des Conseillers) (French)
    6. 給 油 新法 が 衆院 本 会議 で 成立 、 57 年 ぶ り に 再 議決. In: Reuters . January 11, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2012 (Japanese).
    7. 臨時 国会 召集 参 院 議長 に 山東 氏 . In: . August 1, 2019, Retrieved August 2, 2019 (Japanese).
    8. ^ House of Councilors: Strength of the Political Groups in the House of Councilors , accessed on May 28, 2020.
    9. ^ Sangiin: seating arrangements 1. – 25. Election period (always at the beginning), accessed on January 31, 2020.
    10. ^ Sangiin: Q&A