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Sangiin (House of Councillors)

Compare data for parliamentary chambers in the Last elections module

A historical Archive of past election results for this chamber can be found on a separate page

Parliament name (generic / translated) Kokkai / National Diet
Structure of parliament Bicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Sangiin / House of Councillors
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Shugiin / House of Representatives
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 10 July 2016
Purpose of elections Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its coalition partner, Komeito, retained a majority in the 242-member House of Councillors, winning 70 of the 121 seats at stake. The main opposition Democratic Party (see note 1), led by Mr. Katsuya Okada, won 60 seats compared to 49 at the last election. A record 28 women were elected, bringing the total number of women to 50 out of 242 members (20.66%).

The 2016 elections were the first to be held after the 2015 amendments to the electoral law, which lowered the minimum voting age from 20 to 18 years old. Shortly before calling elections to the House of Representatives, Prime Minister Abe announced that the Government would postpone an increase in Value Added Tax (from 8% to 10%) until October 2019. During the election campaigning, the major parties focused on economic issues, political stability and constitutional amendments.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that he would work to revise the Constitution (see note 2): that would require approval by a two-thirds majority in both Chambers of the Japanese Diet (see note 3). At the 2016 elections, the number of seats won by parties in favour of constitutional amendments has paved the way for the first-ever amendments since 1947. The required two-thirds majority in both chambers is made up of the coalition parties (LDP and Komeito), Osaka Ishin no Kai (Initiatives from Osaka), the Party for Japanese Kokoro and a number of independent MPs.

Note 1:
The Democratic Party (DP) was formed in March 2016 by the main opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) and former members of two other parties, Ishin no To (Japan Innovation Party) and Vision of Reform. Those two parties both derived from Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party).

Note 2:
The current Constitution was promulgated in 1946 during the period when Japan was occupied by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP). The SCAP rejected the initial draft constitution prepared by the Japanese authorities. The Government Section of the SCAP then wrote a new draft. Today, parties in favour of constitutional amendments argue that as a sovereign State, Japan should adopt a new Constitution written by Japanese nationals. The main aim of the amendments would be to define more clearly the right to self-defence. The current Constitution's provisions on Japan's right to self-defence (Article 9) have been variously interpreted.

Note 3:
Article 96 of the Constitution stipulates that constitutional amendments require "a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each House" and "a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a special referendum".
Date of previous elections: 21 July 2013

Date of dissolution of the outgoing legislature: N/A

Timing of election: Upon normal expiry

Expected date of next elections: July 2019

Number of seats at stake: 121 (partial renewal)

Number of candidates: 389* (293 men, 96 women)
*225 candidates under the majority system and 164 under the proportional representation system.

Percentage of women candidates: 24.7%*
*26.7% under the majority system (60 women) and 22% under the proportional representation system (36 women)

Number of parties contesting the election: 12

Number of parties winning seats: 7

Alternation of power: No

Number of parties in government: 2

Names of parties in government: Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), Komeito

Date of the first session of the new parliament: 1 August 2016

Name of the new Speaker: Mr. Chuichi Date (Liberal Democratic Party, LDP)
Voter turnout
Round no 110 July 2016
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
58'085'678 (54.69%)

Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political Group Candidates Votes %
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)
Democratic Party (DP)
Osaka Ishin no Kai (Initiatives from Osaka)
Japanese Communist Party (JCP)
Social Democratic Party (SDPJ)
Seikatsu no To (People's Life Party)
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total Majority Proportional
Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) 56 37 19
Democratic Party (DP) 32 21 11
Komeito 14 7 7
Osaka Ishin no Kai (Initiatives from Osaka) 7 3 4
Japanese Communist Party (JCP) 6 1 5
Independents 4 4 0
Social Democratic Party (SDPJ) 1 0 1
Seikatsu no To (People's Life Party) 1 0 1
Distribution of seats according to sex
Percent of women
Distribution of seats according to age
Distribution of seats according to profession
Note on the "Distribution of seats":
The number of seats for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) includes one independent candidate who received the LDP's endorsement after the elections.

Note on the Democratic Party (DP) and the Osaka Ishin no Kai (Initiatives from Osaka):
In December 2013, some members of Your Party (Minna no To) formed Yui no To (the Unity Party). In September 2014, Nippon Ishin no Kai (the Japan Restoration Party) and the Unity Party merged to form Ishin no To (the Japan Innovation Party, JIP). In October 2015, Ishin no To split into the Osaka Ishin no Kai (Initiatives from Osaka) and the Vision of Reform Party. In March 2016, the Democratic Party of Japan formed the Democratic Party with some former members of JIP and the Vision of Reform Party.

Note on the "Distribution of seats according to sex":
The "Distribution of seats according to sex" above shows the breakdown for the MPs elected in 2016: 28 women of 121 members or 23.14 per cent.
After the 2016 elections, there were 50 women in all out of 242 members or 20.66%.

Parliamentary groups in the House of Councillors (As of 1 August 2016)
- Liberal Democratic Party (LDP): 122
- The Democratic Party and The Shin-Ryokufukai (DP-SR): 50
- Komeito (KP): 25
- Japanese Communist Party (JCP): 14
- Initiatives from Osaka (IFO): 12
- Independents Club (IC): 5
- Hope Coalition (Kibou, HC): 5
- The Party for Japanese Kokoro (PJK): 3
- Okinawa Whirlwind (OW): 2
- Independents: 4

House of Councillors (14.07.2016)

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