I. The Caninet Legislation Bureau
3-1-1 Kasumigaseki Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 100-0013 Japan.
1. Main work of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau
- Giving opinions on legal issues to the Prime Minister and to individual ministers as well as to the Cabinet as a whole ("opinion-giving work")
- Examining legislative bills, draft Cabinet orders and draft treaties that are to be brought before Cabinet meetings ("examination work")
The opinion-giving work is carried out only by the First Department of the Bureau, whereas the examination work is carried out by the Second Department, the Third Department and the Fourth Department. Administrative work relating to matters such as personnel, budgeting and accounting is carried out by the Administration Office of the Director-General of the Bureau. In the First Department, there is also the Constitutional Archives Research Office. Its work includes the organizing of the contents of the report submitted by the Constitution Research Commission on July 3, 1964, of the minutes of the proceedings of the Commission, and of other related materials.
2. Opinion-giving work
- The interpretation of a law is carried out by the individual ministry that is in charge of the law and thus enforces it. This particular ministry, however, may have doubts as to the interpretation of the law. There may also be disputes as to the interpretation of a law among the ministries concerned. Upon the request from the ministry or the ministries in such cases, the Cabinet Legislation Bureau gives its opinions on the legal issue(s) involved. Work such as this is called "opinion-giving work".
- The interpretation of law ultimately is determined through court rulings. Within the executive branch, however, the interpretation of law becomes unified through the opinion-giving work of the Bureau.
- The Bureau also conducts studies relating to the interpretations of laws and regulations as these studies are necessary in order for the Government or the Bureau itself to express opinions. One of the important aspects of the Bureau's work is to give opinions in the Diet when requested to do so on legal issues such as the interpretations of existing laws (including the Constitution).
3. Examination work
- There are two types of legislative bills - those introduced by the Cabinet, and those introduced by Diet members or committees (the latter type is referred to as "legislation by Diet members"). With respect to legislative bills to be introduced by the Cabinet, all bills drafted by the relevant ministries are examined by the Cabinet Legislation Bureau before they are brought before Cabinet meetings. Recently, an average of over 100 bills per year were enacted, and most of them were introduced by the Cabinet.
- Cabinet orders are enacted by the Cabinet, either on the basis of authorization by law or for the purpose of implementing law. All draft orders are examined by the Cabinet Legislation Bureau before being brought before Cabinet meetings. Recently, an average of about 400 Cabinet orders per year were enacted.
- The Cabinet has the authority to conclude treaties. As for the treaties, for the conclusion of which "it is necessary to obtain prior or, depending on circumstances, subsequent approval of the Diet" (Proviso in Item 3, Article 73 of the constitution) ("treaties for Diet approval"), all such treaties are examined by the Cabinet Legislation Bureau before being brought before Cabinet meetings.
- The work of examining legislative bills, draft Cabinet orders and draft treaties is divided amongst the Bureau's three departments as follows：
- Second Department
Bills and drafts relating to the Cabinet（save the Cabinet Office), Cabinet Office (save the Fair Trade Commission and the Financial Services Agency), the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education,Culture,Sports,Science and Technology, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport,and the Ministry of Defense.
- Third Department
Bills and drafts relating to the Financial Services Agency, the Ministry of Public Management,Home Affairs,Posts and Telecommunications(save the Environmental Disputes Coordination Commission), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,and the Ministry of Finance,and the Board of Audit.
- Fourth Department
Bills and drafts relating to the Fair Trade Commission, the Environmental Disputes Coordination Commission, the Ministry of Health,Labour and Welfare, the Ministry of Agriculture,Forestry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Economy,Trade and lndustry, and the Ministry of Environment.
4. Organization of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau