Diet of Japan
The National Diet of Japan is the name used in English to refer to the national parliament of Japan, as a translation of the Japanese name Kokkai. The word Diet is of Latin derivation, but came to be used in relation to Japan because it was commonly used for a legislative body in mediaeval Germany. Imperial Germany was the most influential model for the process of modernisation undertaken in Japan during the Meiji period.
National Diet building in Tokyo
The Diet was created under Meiji Constitution, which came into effect on February 11 1889, paving the way for the first meeting of the Diet in 1890. The Diet was partly modelled on the Imperial German Reichstag, and partly on the British Parliament. The Meiji Constitution created a bicameral legislature, with an elected House of Representatives, and a House of Peers, consisting of hereditary members. The latter was abolished in the postwar democratic Constitution, and was replaced by the House of Councillors.
The Diet now consists of two elected houses:
- The House of Representatives (Shugi-in) has 480 members, elected for four-year terms.
- The House of Councillors (Sangi-in) has 247 members.