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From Imperial Diet to National Diet The Japanese parliament came into existence in 1890 by virtue of the Meiji Constitution It was called the Imperial Diet and consisted of two houses - the House of Peers and the House of Representatives The former drew its members from the Imperial Family the Peers people who paid high taxes and others appointed by the Emperor the members of the latter were elected by a limited franchise It was only after 1927 that the members of the House of Representatives were chosen under the universal adult male suffrage that was established by the 1925 Electoral Law The basic principle of the Meiji Constitution was monarchism The power of the Imperial Diet was narrower and more limited than that wielded by the legislatures of many other constitutional states in the sphere of legislation the Emperors prerogative was extensive Through the efforts made by many distinguished pioneers in parliamentary politics democratic practices were gradually established under the Meiji Constitution and in the decade from 1910 to 1920 the first party Cabinet came into existence replacing the bureaucratic Cabinets of the past However throughout the period of the Imperial Diet it was the practice for the prime minister to be appointed by the Emperor on the recommendation of senior statesmen Thus the Cabinet was responsible to the Emperor but not to the Diet After World War II the new Constitution was promulgated on November 3 1946 and carried into effect on May 3 1947 The Constitution proclaims that sovereign power resides with the people and that the Emperor is the symbol of the state deriving his position from the will of the people The Emperors role is specified under the Constitution as that of performing only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in the Constitution and of having no powers relating to government Function and Make-up of the National Diet The Imperial Diet which
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