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State Council of Japan (Cherry, Plum, and Chrysanthemum)

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The State Council of Japan (コクムイン; 國務院 Kokumu-in) is the national advisory body of Japan. The State Council held its regular meeting at least once a month in the right wing of National Congress Building, Tokyo, the national capital of Japan. Although the State Council assembles in National Congress Building, but the State Council is not a legislative parliamentary chamber. The State Council does not have any legislative, executive, and judicial power and intended only serves as an advisory body for the Government of Japan and the National Congress in general and for the President of the Republic in particular. The State Council role is somewhat analogous to the role of upper house in bicameral parliament system.

Membership

According to the 1947 Supplementary to the Constitution Regarding the Composition of State Council, the State Council consists of elected and non-elected members, which composed of:

  • Members elected by the members of prefectural congresses with each prefecture is represented by two deputies. Since 1947, the number of regional representation is fixed into 116 members.
  • Members elected by the corporate and special interest groups which formed the "functional constituencies", including the agricultural constituencies, labour constituencies, commercial constituencies, educational constituencies, cultural constituencies and medical constituencies. Since 1966, the number of functional representation is fixed into 90 members.
  • Members appointed by the President from the indigenous minority of Japan, such as from Karafuto and Taiwan, with the concern from the National Congress every four years. Since 1998, the number of indigenous representation is fixed into 28 members.
  • Members appointed by the President for lifetime with the concern from the National Congress. The life-time members of the State Council usually are the retired President or Prime Minister as well as the citizens of the Republic whose considered having a grand achievement for the Nation and does not held any official position in the local or National Congress. Since 2016, there are 12 members for life, including former President Hara Tsutomu.

Since the post of President of the Republic and of Ministers of State requires the person who also serves as the member of Congress according to the Constitution, that is impossible for the members of State Council to serve as the part of executive branch of government during its term of office.

Functions

The State Council's main function is to advise the Government of Japan (the President and the Council of Ministers) on matters of grave importance including:

  • proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Republic
  • matters of constitutional interpretation, proposed laws, and ordinances
  • proclamations of martial law
  • declaration of war and termination of war
  • treaties and other international agreements
  • matters submitted by the Congress
  • matters of general state policies.

However, the State Council rarely use its functions alone today since most of its functions are executed through the Kyogi Sokai.

Powers

The State Council has several legislative powers when the Council assembling the Kyogi Sokai with the Legislative Council. This powers are described in the 1947 Supplementary to the Constitution Regarding the Functions and Powers of State Council and the 1948 Supplementary Regarding the Consultative Meeting of State Council and Legislative Council. According to the 1947 Supplementary, the State Council can openly debated about the any legislation proposals from the Legislative Council which will be submitted to the National Congress. Furthermore, according to the 1948 Supplementary, if the three-fourth quorum is able to be achieved from among all State Councillors, the State Council can vetoes any Legislative Council’s proposal.

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