Administrative structure of the Imperial Japanese Government

The administrative structure of the government of the Empire of Japan on the eve of the Second World War broadly consisted of the Cabinet, the civil service, local and prefectural governments, the governments-general of Chosen (Korea) and Formosa (Taiwan) and the colonial offices. It underwent several changes during the wartime years, and was entirely reorganized when the Empire of Japan was officially dissolved in 1947.

Central Government

The main organ of the central government was the Cabinet (naikaku), which consisted of the Prime Minister or Premier (naikaku sōri-daijin) and, before 1947, 12 to 14 Ministers of State, each heading a ministry (department). Under each Minister of State were two Vice-Ministers, a Permanent Vice-Minister responsible for administration and a Parliamentary Vice-Minister responsible for representing the ministry in the Diet. Each Parliamentary Vice-Minister was assisted by a Parliamentary Councillor. Each ministry comprised several bureaux, each headed by a director who oversaw several bureau sections. Each section was headed by a section chief.

The Prime Minister's Office

Several bureaux and officials were directly responsible to the Prime Minister. In 1939, the Prime Minister's Office consisted of the Prime Minister, his Chief Secretary, and the Planning Board and several separate bureaux, each headed by a president or director who reported directly to the Prime Minister:

There were also four separate bureaux for Information, the Tohoku (North-Eastern Districts), Information and Pensions, each headed by a director reporting to the Prime Minister.

As well, the Prime Minister headed numerous committees as necessary.

The Cabinet

Headed by the Prime Minister, until 1942 the Cabinet consisted of the following ministries (departments):[1]

In November 1942, the Ministry of the Greater Co-Prosperity Sphere (Daitōa-shō) was formed by merging the earlier Ministry of Overseas Affairs with the East Asia Department and South Pacific Department of the Foreign Ministry and the East Asia Development Board, formed in 1938 as a separate cabinet-level agency. In November 1943, the Ministry of Munitions (Gunju-sho) was formed from the Board of Planning of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Responsible for administration of diplomatic affairs and diplomats and the protection of commercial interests and overseas Japanese. Until 1942, structured as follows:

Ministry of Home Affairs

Responsible for shrines, prefectural administration, elections, police, public works, town planning and publication and copyrights. Supervised the police and prefectural governors.

The following were under the direct supervision of the Minister:

Ministry of Finance

Responsible for accounts, payments, receipts of public monies, taxation, bonds, coins, management and sale of negotiable instruments in custody of the government, banking, trusts, mutual loan associations and prefectural and local finances

The following were under the direct supervision of the Minister:


  1. pp 102-108, "Government: The Executive Departments," Japan Year Book 1938-1939, Kenkyusha Press, Foreign Association of Japan, Tokyo
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 1/11/2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.