House of Representatives (Japan)

Coordinates: 35°40′30.6″N 139°44′41.8″E / 35.675167°N 139.744944°E / 35.675167; 139.744944

The House of Representatives (衆議院, Shūgiin) is the lower house of the National Diet of Japan. The House of Councillors is the upper house.

House of Representatives


The 49th House of Representatives
Coat of arms or logo
Hiroyuki Hosoda, LDP
since November 10, 2021
Banri Kaieda, CDP
since November 10, 2021
Fumio Kishida, LDP
since October 4, 2021
Leader of the Opposition
Yukio Edano, CDP
since October 23, 2017
Japan HoR Composition Nov 2021.svg
Political groups
Government (293)
  •   LDP (261)
  •   Kōmeitō (32)

Opposition (162)

Parallel voting:
First past the post (289 seats)
Party-list proportional representation (176 seats)
Last election
October 31, 2021
Meeting place
Chamber of the House of Representatives of Japan.jpg
Chamber of the House of Representatives

The composition of the House is established by Article 41 [ja] and Article 42 [ja] of the Constitution of Japan.[1] The House of Representatives has 465 members, elected for a four-year term. Of these, 176 members are elected from 11 multi-member constituencies by a party-list system of proportional representation, and 289 are elected from single-member constituencies. 233 seats are required for a majority.

The overall voting system used to elect the House of Representatives is a parallel system, a form of semi-proportional representation. Under a parallel system the allocation of list seats does not take into account the outcome in the single seat constituencies. Therefore, the overall allocation of seats in the House of Representatives is not proportional, to the advantage of larger parties. In contrast, in bodies such as the German Bundestag or the New Zealand Parliament the election of single-seat members and party list members is linked, so that the overall result respects proportional representation fully or to some degree.[citation needed]

The House of Representatives is the more powerful of the two houses, able to override vetoes on bills imposed by the House of Councillors with a two-thirds majority.[2][3][4]

The last election for the House of Representatives was held on 31 October 2021 in which the Liberal Democratic Party won a majority government with 261 seats. Along with their coalition partner, Komeito, which won 32 seats, the governing coalition holds 293 seats in total.[5]

Right to vote and candidatureEdit

  • Japanese nationals aged 18 years and older may vote (prior to 2016, the voting age was 20).[6]
  • Japanese nationals aged 25 years and older may run for office in the lower house.

Differences between the Upper and Lower HousesEdit

The House of Representatives has several powers not given to the House of Councillors. If a bill is passed by the lower house (the House of Representatives) but is voted down by the upper house (the House of Councillors) the House of Representatives can override the decision of the House of Councillors by a two-thirds vote in the affirmative. However, in the case of treaties, the budget, and the selection of the prime minister, the House of Councillors can only delay passage, but not block the legislation. As a result, the House of Representatives is considered the more powerful house.

Members of the House of Representatives, who are elected to a maximum of four years, sit for a shorter term than members of the House of Councillors, who are elected to full six-year terms. The lower house can also be dissolved by the Prime Minister or the passage of a nonconfidence motion, while the House of Councillors cannot be dissolved. Thus the House of Representatives is considered to be more sensitive to public opinion, and is termed the "lower house".

While the legislative term is nominally 4 years, early elections for the lower house are very common, and the median lifespan of postwar legislatures has in practice been around 3 years.

Current compositionEdit

Composition of the House of Representatives of Japan (as of 8 November 2021)[7]
In-House Groups
[innai] kaiha
Parties Representatives
Liberal Democratic Party
Jiyūminshutō / Mushozoku no Kai
Liberal Democratic Party
LDP 262
The Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan
Rikken Minshutō・Mushozoku
Constitutional Democratic Party
CDP, SDP, Independents 97
Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Party)
Nippon Ishin no Kai・Mushozoku no Kai
Nippon Ishin no Kai
Ishin 41
Kōmeitō 32
Democratic Party for the People
Kokumin Minshutō
Japanese Communist Party
Nihon Kyōsantō
JCP 10
Yushi no Kai
Yūshi no Kai
Yushi no Kai 5
Reiwa Shinsengumi
Reiwa Sinsengumi
Reiwa 3
Independents Independent 4
Total 465

For a list of majoritarian members and proportional members from Hokkaidō, see the List of members of the Diet of Japan.

Latest election resultEdit

Liberal Democratic Party19,914,88334.667227,626,23548.08187259–25
Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan11,492,09520.003917,215,62129.965796New
Nippon Ishin no Kai8,050,83014.01254,802,7938.361641+30
Japanese Communist Party4,166,0767.2592,639,6314.59110–1
Democratic Party for the People2,593,3964.5151,246,8122.17611New
Reiwa Shinsengumi2,215,6483.863248,2800.4303New
Social Democratic Party1,018,5881.770313,1930.5511–1
The Party to Protect the People from NHK796,7881.390150,5420.2600New
Shiji Seitō Nashi46,1420.08000
Japan First Party33,6610.0609,4490.0200New
Yamato Party16,9700.03015,0910.0300New
New Party to Strengthen Corona Countermeasures by Change of Government6,6200.0100New
Kunimori Conservative Party29,3060.0500New
Love Earth Party5,3500.0100New
Party for Japanese Kokoro4,5520.01000
Reform Future Party3,6980.0100New
Renewal Party2,7500.0000New
Party for a Successful Japan1,6300.0000New
Valid votes57,465,97997.5857,457,03297.55
Invalid/blank votes1,425,3662.421,443,2272.45
Total votes58,891,345100.0058,900,259100.00
Registered voters/turnout105,224,10355.97105,224,10355.98
Source: Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications

Election results for major parties since 1958Edit


  • green: Ruling party/coalition before and after the lower house election
  • red: Ruling party/coalition until the election = Change of government as a result of the lower house election
  • blue: Ruling party/coalition after the election = Change of government as a result of the lower house election
  • none: Opposition before and after the election

Note that the composition of the ruling coalition may change between lower house elections, e.g. after upper house elections. Parties who vote with the government in the Diet, but are not part of the cabinet (e.g. SDP & NPH after the 1996 election) are not shaded.

Parallel electoral system (since 1996)Edit

Vote and seats by party and segment
Parties Segment 1996[8] 2000[9] 2003[10] 2005[11] 2009[12] 2012 2014 2017
Total seats 500 480 480 480 480 480 475 465
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Jiyū Minshutō FPTP 38.6% 41.0% 43.9% 47.8% 38.6% 43.0% 48.1% 48.21%
169 177 168 219 64 237 223[13] 226
PR 32.8% 28.3% 35.0% 38.1% 26.7% 27.6% 33.1% 33.28%
70 56 69 77 55 57 68 66
Total seats 239 233 237 296 119 294 291 284
Constitutional Democratic Party (CDP) Rikken Minshutō FPTP 8.75%
PR 19.88%
Total seats 55
Party of Hope Kibō no Tō FPTP 20.64%
PR 17.36%
Total seats 50
Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) Minshutō (1996–2014)
Democratic Party (DP) Minshintō (2017)
FPTP 10.6% 27.6% 36.7% 36.4% 47.4% 22.8% 22.5% no party
≈14 members
17 80 105 52 221 27 38
PR 16.1% 25.2% 37.4% 31.0% 42.4% 15.9% 18.3%
35 47 72 61 87 30 35
Total seats 52 127 177 113 308 57 73
Japan Restoration Party (JRP) Nippon Ishin no Kai (2012)
Japan Innovation Party (JIP) Ishin no Tō (2014)
FPTP 11.6% 8.2% 3.18%
14 11 3
PR 20.3% 15.7% 6.07%
40 30 8
Total seats 54 41 11
(New) Komeito (K/NK/NKP/CGP/NCGP/etc.) Kōmeitō FPTP 2.0% 1.5% 1.4% 1.1% 1.4% 1.5% 1.5%
7 9 8 0 9 9 8
PR 13.0% 14.8% 13.3% 11.4% 11.8% 13.7% 12.51%
24 25 23 21 22 26 21
Total seats 31 34 31 21 31 35 29
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Nihon Kyōsantō FPTP 12.6% 12.1% 8.1% 7.2% 4.2% 7.8% 13.3% 9.02%
2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
PR 13.1% 11.2% 7.8% 7.2% 7.0% 6.1% 11.4% 7.9%
24 20 9 9 9 8 20 11
Total seats 26 20 9 9 9 8 21 12
Social Democratic Party (SDP) Shakai Minshutō FPTP 2.2% 3.8% 2.9% 1.5% 1.9% 0.7% 0.8% 1.15%
4 4 1 1 3 1 1 1
PR 6.4% 9.4% 5.1% 5.5% 4.2% 2.3% 2.5% 1.69%
11 15 5 6 4 1 1 1
Total seats 15 19 6 7 7 2 2 2
New Frontier Party (NFP) Shinshintō (1996)
Liberal Party Jiyūtō (2000)
Tomorrow Party of Japan (TPJ) Nippon Mirai no Tō (2012)
People's Life Party (PLP) Seikatsu no Tō (2014)
Liberal Party (LP) Jiyūtō (2017)
FPTP 28.0% 3.4% 5.0% 1.0% no party
2 members
96 4 2 2
PR 28.0% 11.0% 5.7% 1.9%
60 18 7 0
Total seats 156 22 9 2
Your Party (YP) Minna no Tō FPTP 0.8% 4.7%
2 4
PR 4.2% 8.7%
3 14
Total seats 5 19
Conservative Party Hoshutō (2000)
New Conservative Party Hoshu Shintō (2003)
FPTP 2.0% 1.3%
7 4
PR 0.4%
Total seats 7 4
New Party Harbinger (NPH) Shintō Sakigake FPTP 1.3%
PR 1.0%
Total seats 2

SNTV multi-member districts (1947–1993)Edit

Vote for candidates by party and
seats by party
Parties 1958[14] 1960[14] 1963[14] 1967[14] 1969[14] 1972[14] 1976[14] 1979[14] 1980[14] 1983[14] 1986[14] 1990[14] 1993[14]
Total seats 467 467 467 486 486 491 511 511 511 511 512 512 511
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Jiyū Minshutō 57.8% 57.6% 54.7% 48.8% 47.6% 46.8% 41.8% 44.6% 47.9% 48.9% 49.4% 46.1% 36.7%
287 296 283 277 288 271 249 248 284 250 300 275 223
Japan Socialist Party (JSP) Nihon Shakaitō 32.9% 27.6% 29.0% 27.9% 21.4% 21.9% 20.7% 19.7% 19.3% 19.5% 17.2% 24.4% 15.4%
166 145 144 140 90 118 123 107 107 112 85 136 70
Japan Renewal Party (JRP) Shinseitō 10.1%
Kōmeitō (K/KP/CGP/etc.) Kōmeitō 5.4% 10.9% 8.5% 11.0% 9.8% 9.0% 10.1% 9.4% 8.0% 8.1%
25 47 29 55 57 33 58 56 45 51
Japan New Party (JNP) Nihon Shintō 8.0%
Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) Minshatō 8.8% 7.4% 7.4% 7.7% 7.0% 6.3% 6.8% 6.6% 7.3% 6.4% 4.8% 3.5%
17 23 30 31 19 29 35 32 38 26 14 15
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) Nihon Kyōsantō 2.6% 2.9% 4.0% 4.8% 6.8% 10.5% 10.4% 10.4% 9.8% 9.3% 8.8% 8.0% 7.7%
1 3 5 5 14 38 17 39 29 26 26 16 15
New Party Harbinger (NPH) Shintō Sakigake 3.5%


Meiji period (1890-1912)Edit

Kuroda Kiyotaka, Satsuma samurai and prime minister in the late 1880s, coined the term "transcendentalism" (超然主義, chōzen shugi) on the occasion of the promulgation of the Meiji Constitution in 1889. The oligarchs should try to "transcend" electoral politics and govern without partisan majorities the House of Representatives
Itō Hirobumi, a Chōshū samurai, member of the House of Peers and prime minister of Japan on three non-consecutive occasions between 1885 and 1901. He was a main architect of the Imperial Constitution which created the Imperial Diet. When the oligarchs attempts to govern "transcendentally" mostly failed in the 1890s, he saw the necessity for permanent allies among elected political parties.
Hara Takashi, although actually himself born a Morioka noble, made his career as commoner-politician and became the first and one of only three prime ministers from the House of Representatives in the Empire

The Japanese parliament, then known as the Imperial Diet, was established in 1890 as a result of the 1889 Meiji Constitution. It was modeled on the parliaments of several Western countries, particularly the German Empire and the United Kingdom, because of the Emperor Meiji's westernizing reforms. The Imperial Diet consisted of two chambers, the elected House of Representatives which was the lower house, and the House of Peers which was the upper house. This format was similar to the House of Lords in the Westminster system, or the Herrenhaus in Prussia, where the upper house represented the aristocracy.

Both houses, and also the Emperor, had to agree on legislation, and even at the height of party-based constitutional government, the House of Peers could simply vote down bills deemed too liberal by the Meiji oligarchy, such as the introduction of women's suffrage, increases in local autonomy, or trade union rights. The prime minister and his government served at the Emperor's pleasure, and could not be removed by the Imperial Diet. However, the right to vote on, and if necessary to block, legislation including the budget, gave the House of Representatives leverage to force the government into negotiations. After an early period of frequent confrontation and temporary alliances between the cabinet and political parties in the lower house, parts of the Meiji oligarchy more sympathetic to political parties around Itō Hirobumi and parts of the liberal parties eventually formed a more permanent alliance, in the form of the Rikken Seiyūkai in 1900. The confidence of the House of Representatives was never a formal requirement to govern, but between 1905 and 1918, only one cabinet took office that did not enjoy majority support in the House of Representatives.[15]

Taisho and early Showa periods (1912-1937)Edit

During the Taishō political crisis in 1913, a no-confidence vote[16] against the third Katsura government, accompanied by major demonstrations outside the Diet, was followed shortly by resignation. Subsequently, in the period often referred to as Taishō democracy, it became increasingly customary to appoint many ministers, including several prime ministers, from the House of Representatives – Hara Takashi was the first commoner to become prime minister in 1918.

In the same year, the Rice Riots had confronted the government with an unprecedented scale of domestic unrest, and a German Revolution brought the Prusso-German monarchy to an end, the very system Meiji oligarchs had used as the main model for the Meiji constitution to consolidate and preserve Imperial power. Even Yamagata Aritomo and other oligarchs that had been fundamentally opposed to political parties, became more inclined to cooperate with the still mainly bourgeoisie parties, to prevent a rise of socialism or other movements that might threaten Imperial rule. Socialist parties would not be represented in significant numbers in the lower house until the 1930s.

The initially very high census suffrage requirement was reduced several times, until the introduction of universal male suffrage in 1925. The electoral system to the House of Representatives was also fundamentally changed several times: between systems of "small" mostly single- and few multi-member electoral districts (1890s, 1920, 1924), "medium" mostly multi-member districts (1928–1942) and "large" electoral districts (usually only one, rarely two city and one counties district per prefecture; 1900s and 1910s), using first-past-the-post in single-member districts, plurality-at-large voting (1890s) or single non-transferable vote in the multi-member districts.

Influence of the House of Representatives on the government increased, and the party cabinets of the 1920s brought Japan apparently closer to a parliamentary system of government, and there were several reforms to the upper house in 1925. However, the balance of powers between the two houses and the influential role of extra-constitutional actors such as the Genrō (who still selected the prime minister) or the military (that had brought down several cabinets) remained in essence untouched. Within a year of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in September 1931, a series of assassinations and coup attempts followed. Party governments were replaced by governments of "national unity" (kyokoku itchi) which were dominated by nobles, bureaucrats and increasingly the military.

World War II and aftermath (1937-1947)Edit

After the Marco Polo Bridge Incident and the start of war in 1937, the influence of the Imperial Diet was further diminished, though never fully eliminated, by special laws such as the National Mobilization Law and expanded powers for cabinet agencies such as the Planning Board.[17] The House of Representatives in the Empire had a four-year term and could be dissolved by the Emperor. In contrast, members of the House of Peers had either life tenure (subject to revocation by the Emperor) or a seven-year term in the case of members elected in mutual peerage elections among the three lower peerage ranks, top taxpayer and academic peerage elections. During the war, the term of the members of the House of Representatives elected in the last pre-war election of 1937 was extended by one year.

In the 1946 election to the House of Representatives, held under the U.S.-led Allied occupation of Japan, women's suffrage was introduced, and a system of "large" electoral districts (one or two per prefecture) with limited voting was used. A change in the electoral law in April 1945 had for the first time allocated 30 seats to the established colonies of the Empire: Karafuto (Sakhalin), Taiwan, and Chōsen (Korea); but this change was never implemented. Similarly, Korea and Taiwan were granted several appointed members of the House of Peers in 1945.

In 1946, both houses of the Imperial Diet (together with the Emperor) passed the postwar constitution which took effect in 1947. The Imperial Diet was renamed the National Diet, the House of Peers was replaced by an elected upper house called the House of Councillors, and the House of Representatives would now be able to override the upper house in important matters. The constitution also gave the Diet exclusive legislative authority, without involvement of the Emperor, and explicitly made the cabinet responsible to the Diet and requires that the prime minister has the support of a majority in the House of Representatives.

Late Showa period (1947-1989)Edit

Shigeru Yoshida, prime minister 1946-1947 as a member of the House of Peers and 1948-1954 as a member of the House of Representatives, oversaw the end of the American-led occupation and the beginning of the Japanese economic miracle.

The Diet first met under the new constitution on 20 May 1947.[18] Four days later, Tetsu Katayama of the Democratic Socialist Party became Japan's first socialist prime minister and the first since the introduction of parliamentarianism.

Since the end of US rule in 1952, it has been the norm that the prime minister dissolves the House of Representatives before its 4-year term expires. Only once, in 1976, did the House last a full 4 years. It has become tradition to give nicknames to each dissolution, usually referencing a major political issue or controversy. One infamous example was on 14 March 1953, when Shigeru Yoshida dissolved the House and called for new election, after he resorted to name calling people during a meeting of the budget committee. This came to be known as the "you idiot" dissolution.[19]

Recent history (since 1989)Edit

Members (since 1990)Edit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Constitution of Japan". Japanese Law Translation. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ "Japan election: PM Shinzo Abe dissolves parliament". BBC News. 28 September 2017.
  3. ^ Takenaka, Linda Sieg (28 September 2017). "Japan calls snap election as new party roils outlook". Reuters.
  4. ^ "Democratic Party effectively disbands, throwing support behind Koike's party for Lower House poll". 28 September 2017.
  5. ^ "衆議院選挙2021特設サイト". NHK. 1 November 2021.
  6. ^ "Diet enacts law lowering voting age to 18 from 20". The Japan Times. 17 June 2015.
  7. ^ House of Representatives: 会派名及び会派別所属議員数 (Names and number of members of kaiha/parliamentary groups/caucuses) (Japanese), Strength of the In-House Groups in the House of Representatives (English), retrieved October 4, 2021.
  8. ^ Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC/Sōmushō): 第41回衆議院議員総選挙結果
  9. ^ MIC: 第42回衆議院議員総選挙結果
  10. ^ MIC: 衆議院議員総選挙・最高裁判所裁判官国民審査結果調
  11. ^ MIC: 平成17年9月11日執行 衆議院議員総選挙・最高裁判所裁判官国民審査結果調
  12. ^ MIC: 平成21年8月30日執行 衆議院議員総選挙・最高裁判所裁判官国民審査結果調
  13. ^ Includes Takahiro Inoue (independent, Fukuoka 1st district) who was retroactively nominated as LDP candidate; Reuters, December 14, 2014: 自民、井上氏を追加公認 Archived December 17, 2014, at
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, statistics bureau: 衆議院議員総選挙の党派別当選者数及び得票数(昭和33年~平成5年)
  15. ^ Cambridge History of Japan, Vol. 6, p. 35
  16. ^ Wikisource: 第三次桂内閣に対する内閣不信任上奏決議案提出及び趣旨説明, excerpt from the Imperial Diet minutes, House of Representatives session February 5, 1913
  17. ^ The Cambridge History of Japan, Vol.6, chapters 2 (Taichirō Mitani: The establishment of party cabinets, 1889–1932) and 3 (Gordon M. Berger: Politics and mobilization in Japan, 1931–1945).
  18. ^ National Parliaments: Japan - Library of Congress
  19. ^ Dissolving the House of Representatives: A Powerful Political Tool -

External linksEdit