Politics in Japan
The current government of Japan really began to take shape with the end of the Edo period, and beginning of the Meiji era when the special status of the samurai was taken away. Samurai were no longer allowed to carry swords, and the figurative power that they held was also taken away. In 1890, the Imperial Diet was formed, and Japan would become the first country in all of Asia to have a parliamentary form of government. Today, the Imperial Household of Japan is led by the Emperor and he is the symbol of the state, as well as “the unity” of the people. The Emperor serves as a ceremonial head of state, and he does not have any real power. The real power lies with The Diet, which serves as the legislative body of government, along with the Prime Minister. The House of Peers (the upper house of parliament) was primarily made up of privileged people and Japan remained an absolute monarchy, with the emperor retaining authority and sovereignty. After World War II, in 1946, a constitutional monarchy was formed, giving democracy to the people. The emperor is now simply the symbol of the state and the Diet is the house of state power. The power lies in the hands of the people, who elect their Diet members, by virtue of a constitution.
World War II and the occupation of Japan certainly proved to be a time of change for the nation of Japan.
The government of the individual prefectures resembles the government of the states in America, with a governor and an assembly.