Parliaments of China and Japan

Introduction

The legislative power in Japan and China is a branch of the government power directed at the formation, development, discussion, and the establishment of laws and other regulations. The most crucial and central legislative body in the Japanese and Chinese modern societies is the Parliament. These institutions of both countries regulate the social life of the population. The Chinese and Japanese legislatures are distinguished by a range of historical, social, economic, and religious features and patterns. However, a common historical background of these parliaments in the Asian region provides extensive state powers and conceptual political positions based on the national idea and religious grounds. Despite the similar guidelines and the supremacy of the people, Japan and China have differences in the structure and peculiarities of collaboration with other branches of the supreme power, the actual policies, and the established priorities. The comparison of legislatures in China and Japan specifies modern conditions for the political systems of these countries and reflects their social orientation.

Comparison of Political Environment of the Parliaments

The consideration of conditions of the political system of both countries helps in explaining peculiarities and mechanisms of the existing parliaments. The political environment of Japan represents the political order framed by a parliamentary democracy. Herein, the Japanese prime minister of the country is the head of its government. However, the country promotes the system of a constitutional monarchy. The basic guiding law of Japan is the Constitution established in 1947. This document provides the supremacy of law, collegiality of the country’s management, the integrity and inviolability of human rights, and respect for the pacifism principles.

The support and execution of the state sovereignty in Japan is its people. The power of the country is divided into legislative, judicial, and executive branches. The legislative branch body is a bicameral parliament. The Supreme and regional courts constitute the judicial branch of the Japanese political structure, while the Cabinet and relative authorities represent the executive power in Japan. Municipalities of different levels possess wide self-government rights. The Parliament takes a position of the highest authority body. Formally, the Emperor is the formal head of the state, while the Prime Minister is its actual head guiding the performance of the Cabinet of Ministers.

In contrast to the Japanese political order, the political order of the People’s Republic of China is guided by the provisions of the Constitution. Thus, the social system of the country is declared as a socialist state. Its commitment is democratically dictated by the Chinese people who belong to the working class as the alliance of peasants and workers. It is specified by the execution of the Communist Party. The socialist system is established and prevailed in the country as the most favorable force and the source of legislative power. According to the set laws, the people have all power (Dreyer, 2015). Therefore, the people are able to exercise all the state power through the National Congress of the Chinese People and local congresses of people’s representatives at various levels (O’brien, 2008).

The Chairperson of the state is the nominal head of the state. This governing position   may be called the President of China. This person and the related deputy should be elected at the session of the National Congress of People for the five-year term, but no more than for two consecutive terms (Wines, Bradsher, & Landler, 2009). The Chinese President appoints a person for the position of the Premier of the State Council of China and the members of the State Council, which is the government of China. The Chinese Communist Party plays a crucial role in the appointment and nomination of candidates for all the governing positions in the legislative structure. Therefore, a significant role in the state regulation is the performance of party meetings, the secretary of the Communist Party at all levels, and the members of the Political Bureau. Thus, the social orientation of the countries is different due to the ability to govern through the delegation of the authority power to a public choice. While the formal head position is the selected President in China, in Japan, the imperial principle of power over the people remains. The political environment of both of the countries is the domestic conditions following the establishment and commitment of the parliament obligations. Moreover, both states align their activity and legislation according to the Constitution as the highest form of formation of a strong position of population of these two countries in the governance of the social and economic life. Both counties adhere to a democratic approach in their authorities, while the structure and form of executed functions of the Japanese Parliament differ from that of China.

Structure and Functional Mechanism of the Parliaments

The Parliament of Japan is the only legislative body of the political system of this country. It is obvious due to its status of the parliamentary democracy. The same refers to the Chinese Parliament because of the people’s participation in the governance (Stockwin, 2008). If the Parliament of Japan consists of the Houses, the Parliament of China relies the majority of the legislative functions on the supreme power of the Communist Party as the dominant driver of the National People’s Congress.

The Japanese Parliament has the following structure:

1) The House of Representatives that is elected for four years. The number of the Deputies of this Huse varies at approximately 500 persons. The part of the chamber’s deputies is elected in the single-member districts through the relative majority according to the majoritarian system; meanwhile, the other part is elected through the application in regional constituencies according to the features of the proportional system. Thus, voters have two types of vote during the elections to the House of Representatives.

2) The House of Advisers that is constituted of over 250 representatives elected every three years for six-year period. They can be re-elected in the same composition. The House of Advisers is formed through the application of the mixed system. Thus, a part of the members of the House is elected through the party lists by the national districts, while the national constituencies provide the ability to vote for the other part of the advisers applied for this House (Quigley, 2007).

Each House is allowed to form and create the fractions of the parties. Furthermore, a stable profile commission carries out its inherent activities within the work of each House that establishes under-controlled legislative offices performing their functions and working under the bills and regulation of the process of the enacting the Japanese legislation. In addition, each of the Houses is engaged in the election of the Vice-chairman, the Standing Committee Chairman, interim chairman, and the General Secretary of the House among all deputies of the House for occupation for a term of the office existence.

A legislative initiative is relied on the Japanese government, and the House of Advisers or the House of Representatives. The received parliamentary bills are previously and properly considered in the legislative Bureaus of the Houses and then are submitted and discussed in a plenary and complex session of the House of Representatives. They are used to consider the centered bills in two readings. In the case of the bill’ deviations, the House of Representatives is able to override the veto of the House of Advisers. Thus, a bill may be discussed and considered during the term of two months aimed at a mutual collaboration. The alternative way to overcome the veto is the initiated requirement to form and set a conciliation commission and conduct joint meetings.

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As the governing body of Japan consists of two Houses representing the people’s interests and dominance of pluralistic moods regarding the powers of the Parliament bilateralism, the composition of the Chinese Parliament refers to the party system (Martin, 2010). Japan cannot boast of such a vivid democratic approach, but its parliament directive is subject to the Chinese Congress of the Chinese people’s representatives. Thus, the freedoms of people in two countries differ by their possibilities to directly take part in the work of their Parliaments. As China is the People’s Republic, it is logical that the general meeting of its people elects the ruling elite (Lawrence & Martin, 2012).

The Chinese legislature represents the power of a single party on the background of the actual existence of other several parties without substantially dominant and supportive power. The Communist power remains guiding and leading among all the opponents. This position is soundly declared by the adopted Constitution. The highest powerful body of the state is the National Congress of the Chinese People comprising of the deputies from autonomous regions, provinces, and the armed forces, and municipalities.  The representatives are elected every five years. Thus, the terms of the regular elections is longer in China than in Japan that does not ensure the dynamics of the changeable authorities.

The Congress announces its general annual meeting in Beijing every May. Its permanent body is the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress organized by the similar general meeting every two months. This supportive Committee convenes the session of the Congress and announces a new election process at the date of expiration of the factual date. In addition, each extraordinary case or obstacle may invoke an appropriate exceptional session of the Congress.

Among the functional competencies of the Congress, there are the following: amendment of the Constitution, consideration of the cases of its overseeing, enactment of the underlying laws of the Chinese Republic, election of the Chairman of the state and his Deputy, selection of the Prime Minister and Ministers by the introduction of the Chairman, election of the Head of the Supreme Court, the General Prosecutor of the People’s Supreme Prosecutor’s Office, etc. In addition, this legislative body solves such issues as the establishment and adoption of the programs of the state socioeconomic development. The Congress of People is able to adopt, change, or reject inappropriate decisions of the related Standing Committee, make crucial decisions on the external affairs regarding peace and war as well as the transformation of administrative and territorial structure of China. Thus, a range of the Chinese Parliament is much wider than that of Japan due to the enlarged ability to involve more participants of different elected individuals from various areas. By contrast, Japan provides a dual system of the political power that decreases the level of a possible confrontation and manipulation of the general decision or speculation of the responsibility.

The Standing Committee as the supportive agency of the Chinese Parliament executes its power over the state between the sessions of the National Congress. This agency is composed by the head, secretary, deputy chairman, and its members. The  Standing Committee provides the following functions for the entire country and the National Congress: the interpretatioon of the Constitution and the underlying legislative, provision of controlling functions over their execution, performance of minor amendments to the legislative system, adjustment of programs for the socioeconomic development of the state, supervision of the main functions and assistance to the Military Commission, the State Council, the People’s Supreme Court and Prosecutor’s Office, making decisions on the Ministers’ replacement between the National Congress sessions and decisions on peace and war, appointment and recall of the foreign ambassadors, denouncement and ratification of international treaties, and the performance of other tasks.  The guidance of the Committee ensures the performance of several special committees dedicated to the completed and favorable session of the National Congress.

The local congresses of people are also appointed by the highest legislative power. The levels of township, county, and provinces are affordable to make decisive actions towards the future of the country. Therefore, the status of the Chinese Republic is justified through this wide participation of the local communities. District and provincial levels of local meeting provide a re-election after five years of fulfillment of their obligations to the people of these areas. The lower levels are re-elected for the next three years.

The functional competence of these local branches of the legislative power include the following areas: approval of planned programs aimed at the socioeconomic development regarding their execution in terms of their locations, selection of the governor of an appropriate local level, monitoring of a proper adoption and implementation of the Constitution’s provisions and the underlying legislation. Local meetings are provided by the assistance of permanent committees. The people’s congresses are ensured by the presence of local deputies representing the interests of townships and towns, counties, and municipal districts. These deputies are re-elected through the direct vote of local communities. The deputies of the higher provincial congress of people are elected by the deputies of lower administrative levels. The provincial congresses of people elect the deputies for the National Congress.

Participation of the Chinese people in the regulation of the state legislation and governance are carried out by the structural pyramid scheme, which shows the protection of interests of all segments of the population placed on the administrative territorial basis. However, unlike the Japanese system of a direct popular election to the Houses, the Chinese Parliament is susceptible to a high risk of bureaucratization if the highest levels of deputies that are appointed to the National Congress are elected only by the lowest deputies, but not directly by the people of towns or counties. However, these peculiarities are provided by the political cultural patterns of executing the legislative power in that manner.

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Political Cultural Background of the Parliaments

Despite the formally dominated pluralism in politics of the Parliament, the Japanese community is strongly cohesive due to its alignment to the system of stable values and national community patterns of behavior and relationships. According to the history, the country is conservative in its public life and core institutions, while gently combining them with the revolutionary innovative content as the cultural and historical background (Pye & Verba, 2015). The Japanese society focuses on the preservation of its historical continuity even over the centuries. This explains the democratic moods of the Parliament neighboring with the Emperor status of a formal head of state. The political course of the Japanese Parliament is guided by bureaucracy preceding the adoption of draft laws and controlling of their execution. The factual evidences attest that the country provides the good, incorruptible, and flexible civil service that plays an exemplary role in strengthening of the state as one of the prosperous capitalist countries.

The political culture as the background of understanding the current role and distinction of the Chinese Parliament relies on the persuasion of the national idea, market socialism, the synthesis of Confucianism and legislative culture (Beeson, 2009). These facts are the political orientation of the Chinese legislatures. Main political and social landmarks of the official Chinese line in regard to the policy and ideology are considered at the Communist Party congresses. In the political culture of the Chinese Parliament, there is a room for the preservation of prevailing rituals and norms that are believed to be transformed according to Confucian rules (Zhang, 2006). The political background of the modern Parliament work is the following patterns: predominantly authoritarian political culture, long-term one-party performance of the Communist Party, dual forms of policy (liberally reformist and officially-mass), peculiar refraction of ethnic values in the political course, etc.

Conclusion

Consequently, the performance of the parliaments of China and Japan have both a number of similar and distinctive features that are based on the social and cultural characteristics of development and national ideas of these countries. Thus, the Japanese parliament is a dual-composed body of the legislative authority, while the Chinese Parliament relies on the Communist Party and the National Congress to a considerable degree. Duties and elective features emerge from the characteristics of the mentioned forms of legislatures. The formation and operation of both parliaments are explained by their integration into the overall political and legal system of the states and cultural background.

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