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Diet of Japan

The National Diet of Japan (国会; Kokkai) is the national parliament of Japan. The word "Diet" has a Latin derivation, and came into use in relation to Japan through the common name for the legislative Imperial Diet (Reichstag) in medieval Germany. Imperial Germany formed an influential model for the process of modernisation undertaken in Japan during the Meiji period.

National Diet building in Tokyo

The National Diet Building (国会議事堂 Kokkai-gijido) is located in Nagatacho, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

The Meiji Constitution, adopted on February 11, 1889, set up the Diet, paving the way for its first meeting on November 29, 1890 when the document entered into operation. The constitutional drafters modelled the Diet partly on the Imperial German Reichstag, and partly on the British Parliament. The Meiji Constitution set up a bicameral legislature, with an elected House of Representatives, and a House of Peers, consisting of hereditary members. The postwar democratic Constitution operative from 1947 abolished the House of Peers and replaced it with the House of Councillors.

The Diet now consists of two elected houses:

The head of government, the Prime Minister, must be a member of the House of Representatives and is usually the leader of the largest party in the House of Representatives. When the House of Councillors nominates a different person as Prime Minister, a joint Committee of the two Houses forms to achieve a consensus between them.

At the beginning of each parliamentary session the Emperor of Japan reads a special speech from the throne outlining the government's plans.

See also National Diet Library

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