Chapter 4. The Diet
Consisting of articles 41 through 64, this chapter specifies the operation of Japan’s legislature or parliament, the Diet, the sole law-making body for the nation. The Diet is bicameral, consisting of a House of Representatives and a House of Councillors. The term of office is four years for the former and six years for the latter. The Diet must meet once a year, and in addition, the Cabinet may decide to convene extra sessions. Provisions are set out to determine how a bill becomes a law, and how the national budget is to be adopted.
Chapter 4. The Diet
Article 41. The Diet shall be the highest organ of state power, and shall be the sole law-making organ of the State.
Article 42. The Diet shall consist of two Houses, namely the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors.
Article 43. Both Houses shall consist of elected members, representative of all the people.
(2) The number of the members of each House shall be fixed by law.
Article 44. The qualifications of members of both Houses and their electors shall be fixed by law. However, there shall be no discrimination because of race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property or income.
Article 45. The term of office of members of the House of Representatives shall be four years. However, the term shall be terminated before the full term is up in case the House of Representatives is dissolved.
Article 46. The term of office of members of the House of Councillors shall be six years, and election for half the members shall take place every three years.
Article 47. Electoral districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to the method of election of members of both Houses shall be fixed by law.
Article 48. No person shall be permitted to be a member of both Houses simultaneously.
Article 49. Members of both Houses shall receive appropriate annual payment from the national treasury in accordance with law.
Article 50. Except in cases provided by law, members of both Houses shall be exempt from apprehension while the Diet is in session, and any members apprehended before the opening of the session shall be freed during the term of the session upon demand of the House.
Article 51. Members of both Houses shall not be held liable outside the House for speeches, debates or votes cast inside the House.
Article 52. An ordinary session of the Diet shall be convoked once per year.
Article 53. The Cabinet may determine to convoke extraordinary sessions of the Diet. When a quarter or more of the total members of either House makes the demand, the Cabinet must determine on such convocation.
Article 54. When the House of Representatives is dissolved, there must be a general election of members of the House of Representatives within forty (40) days from the date of dissolution, and the Diet must be convoked within thirty (30) days from the date of the election.
(2) When the House of Representatives is dissolved, the House of Councillors is closed at the same time. However, the Cabinet may in time of national emergency convoke the House of Councillors in emergency session.
(3) Measures taken at such session as mentioned in the proviso of the preceding paragraph shall be provisional and shall become null and void unless agreed to by the House of Representatives within a period of ten (10) days after the opening of the next session of the Diet.
Article 55. Each House shall judge disputes related to qualifications of its members. However, in order to deny a seat to any member, it is necessary to pass a resolution by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.
Article 56. Business cannot be transacted in either House unless one-third or more of total membership is present.
(2) All matters shall be decided, in each House, by a majority of those present, except as elsewhere provided in the Constitution, and in case of a tie, the presiding officer shall decide the issue.
Article 57. Deliberation in each House shall be public. However, a secret meeting may be held where a majority of two-thirds or more of those members present passes a resolution therefor.
(2) Each House shall keep a record of proceedings. This record shall be published and given general circulation, excepting such parts of proceedings of secret session as may be deemed to require secrecy.
(3) Upon demand of one-fifth or more of the members present, votes of members on any matter shall be recorded in the minutes.
Article 58. Each House shall select its own president and other officials.
(2) Each House shall establish its rules pertaining to meetings, proceedings and internal discipline, and may punish members for disorderly conduct. However, in order to expel a member, a majority of two-thirds or more of those members present must pass a resolution thereon.
Article 59. A bill becomes a law on passage by both Houses, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution.
(2) A bill which is passed by the House of Representatives, and upon which the House of Councillors makes a decision different from that of the House of Representatives, becomes a law when passed a second time by the House of Representatives by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.
(3) The provision of the preceding paragraph does not preclude the House of Representatives from calling for the meeting of a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law.
(4) Failure by the House of Councillors to take final action within sixty (60) days after receipt of a bill passed by the House of Representatives, time in recess excepted, may be determined by the House of Representatives to constitute a rejection of the said bill by the House of Councillors.
Article 60. The budget must first be submitted to the House of Representatives.
(2) Upon consideration of the budget, when the House of Councillors makes a decision different from that of the House of Representatives, and when no agreement can be reached even through a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law, or in the case of failure by the House of Councillors to take final action within thirty (30) days, the period of recess excluded, after the receipt of the budget passed by the House of Representatives, the decision of the House of Representatives shall be the decision of the Diet.
Article 61. The second paragraph of the preceding article applies also to the Diet approval required for the conclusion of treaties.
Article 62. Each House may conduct investigations in relation to government, and may demand the presence and testimony of witnesses, and the production of records.
Article 63. The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State may, at any time, appear in either House for the purpose of speaking on bills, regardless of whether they are members of the House or not. They must appear when their presence is required in order to give answers or explanations.
Article 64. The Diet shall set up an impeachment court from among the members of both Houses for the purpose of trying those judges against whom removal proceedings have been instituted.
(2) Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided by law.