According to the Constitution of November 3, 1946 (which came into force on May 3, 1947), Japan is a constitutional monarchy; eminently representative functions has the emperor – former absolute sovereign cloaked in a divine character – today only “symbol of the State and the unity of the people”. According to paradisdachat, the supreme organ of the state is the Parliament or Diet (Kokkai), which exercises legislative power and which consists of two Chambers, both elected by universal suffrage: the Chamber of Councilors, or Upper House (Sangi-in), made up of 242 members elected for 6 years and renewable for half every 3 years, and the Chamber of Deputies, or Lower House (Shugi-in), made up of 480 members elected for 4 years. The executive power belongs to the Cabinet, accountable to Parliament and formed by the Prime Minister – formally designated by the Emperor – and by the various ministers. In 2006, for the first time since the war, a Ministry of Defense was established, a sign of the government’s desire to move away from the traditional pacifist position. The highest organ of the judicial system, inspired by continental European law, with Anglo-Saxon influences, is the Supreme Court, composed of a president-designated by the Cabinet and appointed by the Emperor and 14 judges, also appointed by the Cabinet, but whose choice is then submitted to popular judgment; below this, there are the High Courts, the District Courts, family courts (competent for family disputes and involving minors) and summary courts (for civil and criminal cases of limited importance). The death penalty is in effect. After the defeat in World War II, Japan gave up war as a sovereign right and the use of force to settle disputes with other countries: therefore, the Japanese army carries out tasks of self-defense only. However, a law passed in 2001 authorized the dispatch of armed forces abroad for logistical support tasks to anti-terrorism operations and in 2004 the first mission abroad was carried out since 1945, with the dispatch of a contingent in Iraq in support of US troops.
Military service is voluntary. The school system was modernized in 1872: the school was open to all citizens, regardless of class, and equipped with the organization it still has today. Subsequently, compulsory schooling was also established by law. Thanks to the new Constitution of 1947 the organization of the school acquired a democratic and decentralized character. Illiteracy in the country is almost non-existent. Primary school lasts 6 years, at the end of which it is compulsory to attend lower secondary school for 3 years (or 4, if attended by correspondence). Upper secondary school provides a further three-year cycle with a general or technical orientation. Higher education, organized on the Anglo-Saxon model, is of a high standard and is entrusted to the numerous universities and colleges. Universities (more than 580 across the country), in particular, they are state, private or dependent on local authorities. Some of the state headquarters are located in Chiba (1949), Sapporo (1918), Kobe (1949), Kyōto (1897), Fukuoka (1910), Nagoya (1939), Ōsaka (1931), Sendai (1907), Tōkyō (1877). There are also numerous private universities: Yokohama (1949), Ōsaka (1925), Tōkyō (Kokugakuin, 1882; Komazawa, 1952; Meiji, 1903; Nihon, 1903; Waseda, 1882) etc.
State of Asia territorially corresponds to the great island arc (Japanese Archipelago) facing Asia on the Pacific Ocean side. Within Asia, Japan is in a particular position, being the most economically advanced country on the continent. This record, astonishing for an Asian state, far from the western fires promoting the industrial phenomenon, has its direct motivations in the country’s commercial openings after the Meiji restoration., in the urgent need to convert economic and productive structures in the face of the needs of a large and space-poor population (Japan is in fact one of the most densely populated states in the world, with over 127 million residents on a territory, as well as small, eminently mountainous), finally in the all “Asian” submission of the masses to traditional powers, to which we owe that imperialist expansionism that led Japan to occupy, at the beginning of the twentieth century, various regions of East Asia in homage to a colonialist policy not unlike that of the European industrial powers and which has left its marks throughout the Far East. Lost its conquests with the Second World War, following which he had to renounce any hegemonic ambition over the Pacific to the advantage of the USA (only in 1972 did he regain full sovereignty over the Okinawa archipelago, already under US administration), Japan has engaged in a race to industrialization initially supported by US capitalism, from which it then progressively emancipated itself, reaching in a short time, with very advanced technology and an efficient organization of economic structures, extraordinarily high levels of development. However, unlike the United States and, until its dissolution, the Soviet Union, and in this rather similar to the industrialized countries of Europe, Japan is poor in natural resources: this has made its economic records almost “miraculous”, founded on an intense commercial activity, to which the country is historically voted for its very insularity and its wide ocean openings. All ‘ the beginning of the year 2000, however, this technological supremacy represents only one of the many faces of the country. The Japanese society appears, in fact, pervaded by ferments and anxieties, in which there are profound contradictions, starting from the difficulty in reconciling old and new cultural demands. These factors contribute to drawing a more controversial image of the country than that which has spread to the West, and that make Japan not only, or not only more, the country of progress, but also the symbol of post-modernity.