The House of Councillors is the upper house in the bicameral Japanese Diet. The House of Councillors was created by the Japanese Constitution of 1947 to replace the House of Peers, the upper house under the Meiji Constitution. The House of Councilors is made up of 247 members from 8 political parties.

The Councillors meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 10 AM, for sessions, when the Diet is in session. Sessions of the entire House are open to the public. The ordinary session of the Diet is convened in late January and lasts for 150 days, with a possible extraordinary session in autumn.

Much of the business of the House is handled in committee. There are 17 standing committees, with one for each of the Ministries of State. Each Councillor must sit on at least one standing committee. There are also 5 special committees and 3 research committees. Special committees are formed to examin a specific issues or proposed laws, whereas the purpose of a research committee is to propose legislation and to conduct long-term studies of particular issues. There is also a Deliberative Council on Political Ethics, which meets to create ethical standards for House members and to rule on conduct violations.

All members of the Diet, including the House of Councillors, is elected by the general population. In Japan, the minimum age to vote in a Diet election is 20. The minimum age to run for election to the House of Councillors is 30; The minimum age for the House of Represenatives is 25. The difference in age is because each house of the Diet was intended to represent a different cross-section of the population. Every 3 years, half of the House of Councillors is up for election to 6 year terms, much like the American Senate. The term for Represenatives is 4 years, but the House of Represenatives can be dissolved by the Prime Minister through the Emperor at any time.

For the House of Councillors, the electorate is divided into 47 prefecture-level districts. Each of these districts elects from 1 to 6 Councillors. A district map is available from the official House of Councillors website at http://www.sangiin.go.jp/eng/member/electora/index.htm . 149 of the 247 Councillors are elected at the district level, with the remaining 98 being selected in a national election.

Current Officers of the House of Councillors

President: INOUE Yutaka
Vice-President: MOTOOKA Shoji
Secretary General: KAWAMURA Yoshinori

Standing Committee Chairmen:

Cabinet: SATO Taisuke
General Affairs: TAMURA Kohei
Judicial Affairs: TAKANO Hiroshi
Foreign Affairs and Defense: TAKEMI Keizo
Financial Affairs: YAMASHITA Yasuo
Education, Culture and Science: HASHIMOTO Seiko
Health, Welfare and Labour: ABE Masatoshi
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries: TSUNEDA Takayoshi
Economy and Industry: HOSAKA Sanzo
Land and Transport: KITAZAWA Toshimi
Environment: HORI Toshikazu
Fundamental National Policies: HIRONAKA Wakako
Budget: MANABE Kenji
Audit: IWAI Kuniomi
Oversight of Administration: MORIMOTO Kouji
Rules and Administration: YAMAZAKI Masaaki
Discipline: YOSHIOKA Yoshinori

Special Committee Chairmen:

Disasters: KATO Syuichi
Okinawa and Northern Problems: SATO Yuhei
Relocation of the National Diet and Related Organizations: KUTSUKAKE Tetsuo
Financial Issues and Revitalization of the Economy: KUZE Kimitaka
Political Ethics and Election System: KURATA Hiroyuki

Research Committee Chairmen
International Affairs: SEKIYA Katsutsugu
National Life and Economy: KATSUKI Kenji
Society of Cooperative Way of Life: ONO Kiyoko

Other Committee Chairmen
Research Commission on the Constitution: UESUGI Mitsuhiro
Deliberative Council on Political Ethics: NAKASONE Hirofumi

Listing of the members of the House of Councillors, by party

Liberal Democratic Party-New Conservative Party (116 Members)
ABE Masatoshi
AICHI Jiro
ANAN Issei
AOKI Mikio
ARAI Shogo
ARIMA Akito
ARIMURA Haruko
DAMMOTO Yukio
DATE Chuichi
FUJII Motoyuki
FUKUSHIMA Keishiro
GOTO Hiroko
HASHIMOTO Seiko
HATTORI Minao
HAYASHI Yoshimasa
HINODE Eisuke
HOSAKA Sanzo
ICHIKAWA Ichiro
INOUE Kichio
IRISAWA Hajimu
IWAI Kuniomi
IWAKI Mitsuhide
IWANAGA Hiromi
IZUMI Shinya
JINNOUCHI Takao
KAGEYAMA Shuntaro
KAJIYA Yoshito
KAMEI Ikuo
KANEDA Katsutoshi
KANOH Tokio
KANOU Yasu
KATAYAMA Toranosuke
KATO Norifumi
KAWAMOTO Eisuke
KIMURA Hitoshi
KISHI Koichi
KITAOKA Shuji
KOBAYASHI Yutaka
KOIZUMI Akio
KONDO Takeshi
KOSEHIRA Toshifumi
KOUNOIKE Yoshitada
KUNII Masayuki
KUNO Koichi
KURATA Hiroyuki
KUTSUKAKE Tetsuo
KUZE Kimitaka
MAJIMA Kazuo
MANABE Kenji
MASUZOE Yoichi
MATSUDA Iwao
MATSUMURA Ryuji
MATSUTANI Soichiro
MATSUYAMA Masaji
MIURA Issui
MIYAZAKI Hideki
MIZOTE Kensei
MORIMOTO Tsuneo
MORISHITA Hiroyuki
MORITA Tsuguo
MORIYAMA Hiroshi
NAKAGAWA Yoshio
NAKAHARA Soh
NAKAJIMA Mahito
NAKAMICHI Toshiya
NAKASHIMA Hiroo
NAKASONE Hirofumi
NISHIDA Yoshihiro
NISHIME Junshiro
NOGAMI Kotaro
NOHNO Chieko
NOMA Takeshi
NOZAWA Daizo
OHNO Tsuyako
ONITA Atsushi
ONO Kiyoko
OOGI Chikage
OSHIMA Yoshihisa
OTA Toyoaki
OTSUJI Hidehisa
SAITO Juro
SAITOU Shigenobu
SAKANO Shigenobu
SAKURAI Shin
SANTO Akiko
SASAKI Tomoko
SATO Akio
SATOU Taizou
SEKIYA Katsutsugu
SEKO Hiroshige
SHIMIZU Kayoko
SHIMIZU Tatsuo
SUZUKI Seiji
TAKEMI Keizo
TAKEYAMA Yutaka
TAMURA Kohei
TANAKA Naoki
TANIGAWA Syuzen
TAURA Tadashi
TSUKIHARA Shigeaki
TSUNEDA Takayoshi
TSURUHO Yosuke
UENO Kohsei
UESUGI Mitsuhiro
UOZUMI Hirohide
WAKABAYASHI Masatoshi
WAKI Masashi
YAMAMOTO Ichita
YAMASHITA Hidetoshi
YAMASHITA Yoshihiko
YAMAUCHI Toshio
YAMAZAKI Masaaki
YAMAZAKI Tsutomu
YANO Tetsuro
YOSHIDA Hiromi
YOSHIMURA Gotaro

The Democratic Party and The Shin-Ryokufukai (60 Members)
ASAHI Toshihiro
ASAO Keiichiro
CHIBA Keiko
EDA Satsuki
EMOTO Takenori
FUJII Toshio
FUJIWARA Masashi
FUKUYAMA Tetsuro
GUNJI Akira
HASEGAWA Kiyoshi
HATA Yuichiro
HIRATA Kenji
HIRONAKA Wakako
HONDA Ryoichi
HORI Toshikazu
IKEGUCHI Shuji
IMAI Kiyoshi
IMAIZUMI Akira
ITO Mototaka
IWAMOTO Tsukasa
KAMIMOTO Mieko
KATSUKI Kenji
KAWAHASHI Yukiko
KIMATA Yoshitake
KITAZAWA Toshimi
KOBAYASHI Moto
KOMIYAMA Yoko
KOSHIISHI Azuma
MADOKA Yoriko
MATSUI Koji
MINEZAKI Naoki
NAITO Masamitsu
NAOSHIMA Masayuki
OGAWA Katsuya
OGAWA Toshio
OHASHI Kyosen
OKAZAKI Tomiko
OTSUKA Kohei
SAITO Tsuyoshi
SAKURAI Mitsuru
SATO Michio
SATO Taisuke
SATOH Yuhei
SHIMBA Kazuya
SUZUKI Kan
TAKAHASHI Chiaki
TAKASHIMA Yoshimitsu
TANI Hiroyuki
TANIBAYASHI Masaaki
TSUJI Yasuhiro
TSUNODA Giichi
UNNO Tooru
WADA Hiroko
WAKABAYASHI Hideki
WARASHINA Mitsuharu
YAMAMOTO Takashi
YAMANE Ryuji
YAMASHITA Yasuo
YANAGIDA Minoru
YANASE Susumu

New Komeito (24 Members)
ARAKI Kiyohiro
FUKUMOTO Junichi
HAMADA Takujiro
HAMAYOTSU Toshiko
HIKASA Katsuyuki
HIROTOMO Kazuo
KATOH Shuichi
KAZAMA Hisashi
KOBA Kentaro
KUSAKAWA Shozo
MATSU Akira
MORIMOTO Kouji
SAWA Tamaki
SHIRAHAMA Kazuyoshi
TAKANO Hiroshi
TOYAMA Kiyohiko
TSURUOKA Hiroshi
TSUZUKI Kunihiro
UOZUMI Yuichiro
WATANABE Takao
YAMAGUCHI Natsuo
YAMAMOTO Kanae
YAMAMOTO Tamotsu
YAMASHITA Eiichi

Japanese Communist Party (20 Members)
DAIMON Mikishi
FUDESAKA Hideyo
HATANO Kimie
HATTA Hiroko
HAYASHI Toshiko
ICHIDA Tadayoshi
IKEDA Yoshitaka
INOUE Miyo
INOUE Satoshi
IWASA Emi
KAMI Tomoko
KOIKE Akira
KOIZUMI Chikashi
MIYAMOTO Takeshi
NISHIYAMA Tokiko
OGATA Yasuo
OSAWA Tatsumi
TOGASHI Renzo
YOSHIKAWA Haruko
YOSHIOKA Yoshinori

Social Democratic Party (8 Members)
FUCHIGAMI Sadao
FUKUSHIMA Mizuho
MATAICHI Seiji
OFUCHI Kinuko
OTA Masahide
OWAKI Masako
TAJIMA Yoko
YAMAMOTO Masakazu

Liberal Party (8 Members)
HIRANO Sadao
HIRANO Tatsuo
HIRONO Tadashi
MORI Yuko
NISHIOKA Takeo
OE Yasuhiro
TAMURA Hideaki
WATANABE Hideo

Independents(Mushozoku no Kai) (6 Members)
IWAMOTO Sota
MATSUOKA Masuo
NISHIKAWA Kiyoshi
SHIINA Motoo
TAKAHASHI Kiseko
TANABU Masami

Independents (5 Members)
INOUE Yutaka
KASHIMURA Takeaki
MOTOOKA Shoji
NAKAMURA Atsuo
SHIMABUKURO Soko


Sources:
The official House of Councillors website: http://www.sangiin.go.jp

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