National Diet

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National Diet


203rd Session of the National Diet
Go-shichi no kiri crest 2.svg
Tadamori Ōshima, LDP
since April 21, 2015
Akiko Santō, LDP
since August 1, 2019
Japan House of Councillors - January 2021.svg
House of Councillors political groups
Government (142)
  •   LDP & affiliated independents (114)
  •   Kōmeitō (28)

Opposition (103)

Japan House of Representatives - January 2021.svg
House of Representatives political groups
Government (312)

Opposition (154)

  •   CDP & affiliated Independents (113)
  •   JCP (12)
  •   Ishin & affiliated Independents (11)
  •   DPFP & affiliated independents (10)
  •   Independents (7)
  •   Vacant (1)
House of Councillors last election
21 July 2019 (25th)
22 October 2017 (48th)
Meeting place
Diet of Japan Kokkai 2009.jpg
National Diet Building, Nagatachō 1-7-1, Chiyoda District, Tokyo, Japan

The National Diet (Japanese: 国会, Hepburn: Kokkai) is Japan's bicameral legislature. It is composed of a lower house, called the House of Representatives (衆議院, Shūgiin), and an upper house, the House of Councillors (参議院, Sangiin). Both houses are directly elected under a parallel voting system. In addition to passing laws, the Diet is formally responsible for selecting the Prime Minister. The Diet was first convened as the Imperial Diet in 1890 under the Meiji Constitution, and took its current form in 1947 upon the adoption of the post-war constitution. Both houses meet in the National Diet Building (国会議事堂, Kokkai-gijidō) in Nagatachō, Chiyoda, Tokyo.



The houses of the Diet are both elected under parallel voting systems. This means that the seats to be filled in any given election are divided into two groups, each elected by a different method; the main difference between the houses is in the sizes of the two groups and how they are elected. Voters are also asked to cast two votes: one for an individual candidate in a constituency, and one for a party list. Any national of Japan at least 18 years of age may vote in these elections, reduced from age 20 in 2016. [1] [2] Japan's parallel voting system is not to be confused with the Additional Member System used in many other nations. The Constitution of Japan does not specify the number of members of each house of the Diet, the voting system, or the necessary qualifications of those who may vote or be returned in parliamentary elections, thus allowing all of these things to be determined by law. However it does guarantee universal adult suffrage and a secret ballot. It also insists that the electoral law must not discriminate in terms of "race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property or income". [3]

Generally, the election of Diet members is controlled by statutes passed by the Diet. This is a source of contention concerning re-apportionment of prefectures' seats in response to changes of population distribution. For example, the Liberal Democratic Party had controlled Japan for most of its post-war history, and it gained much of its support from rural areas. During the post-war era, large numbers of people were relocating to the urban centers in the seeking of wealth; though some re-apportionments have been made to the number of each prefecture's assigned seats in the Diet, rural areas generally have more representation than do urban areas. [4] The Supreme Court of Japan began exercising judicial review of apportionment laws following the Kurokawa decision of 1976, invalidating an election in which one district in Hyōgo Prefecture received five times the representation of another district in Osaka Prefecture. [5] In recent elections the malapportionment ratio amounted to 4.8 in the House of Councillors (census 2005: Ōsaka/Tottori; [6] election 2007: Kanagawa/Tottori [7] ) and 2.3 in the House of Representatives (election 2009: Chiba 4/Kōchi 3). [8]

Candidates for the lower house must be 25 years old or older and 30 years or older for the upper house. All candidates must be Japanese nationals. Under Article 49 of Japan's Constitution, Diet members are paid about ¥1.3 million a month in salary. Each lawmaker is entitled to employ three secretaries with taxpayer funds, free Shinkansen tickets, and four round-trip airplane tickets a month to enable them to travel back and forth to their home districts. [9]


Article 41 of the Constitution describes the National Diet as "the highest organ of State power" and "the sole law-making organ of the State". This statement is in forceful contrast to the Meiji Constitution, which described the Emperor as the one who exercised legislative power with the consent of the Diet. The Diet's responsibilities include not only the making of laws but also the approval of the annual national budget that the government submits and the ratification of treaties. It can also initiate draft constitutional amendments, which, if approved, must be presented to the people in a referendum. The Diet may conduct "investigations in relation to government" (Article 62).

The Prime Minister must be designated by Diet resolution, establishing the principle of legislative supremacy over executive government agencies (Article 67). The government can also be dissolved by the Diet if it passes a motion of no confidence introduced by fifty members of the House of Representatives. Government officials, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet members, are required to appear before Diet investigative committees and answer inquiries. The Diet also has the power to impeach judges convicted of criminal or irregular conduct. [3]

In most circumstances, in order to become law a bill must be first passed by both houses of the Diet and then promulgated by the Emperor. This role of the Emperor is similar to the Royal Assent in some other nations; however, the Emperor cannot refuse to promulgate a law and therefore his legislative role is merely a formality. [10]

The House of Representatives is the more powerful chamber of the Diet. [11] While the House of Representatives cannot usually overrule the House of Councillors on a bill, the House of Councillors can only delay the adoption of a budget or a treaty that has been approved by the House of Representatives, and the House of Councillors has almost no power at all to prevent the lower house from selecting any Prime Minister it wishes. Furthermore, once appointed it is the confidence of the House of Representatives alone that the Prime Minister must enjoy in order to continue in office. The House of Representatives can overrule the upper house in the following circumstances: [12]


Under the Constitution, at least one session of the Diet must be convened each year. Technically, only the House of Representatives is dissolved before an election. But, while the lower house is in dissolution, the House of Councillors is usually "closed". The Emperor both convokes the Diet and dissolves the House of Representatives but in doing so must act on the advice of the Cabinet. In an emergency the Cabinet can convoke the Diet for an extraordinary session, and an extraordinary session may be requested by one-quarter of the members of either house. [14] At the beginning of each parliamentary session, the Emperor reads a special speech from his throne in the chamber of the House of Councillors. [15]

The presence of one-third of the membership of either house constitutes a quorum [14] and deliberations are in public unless at least two-thirds of those present agree otherwise. Each house elects its own presiding officer who casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie. The Diet has parliamentary immunity. Members of each house have certain protections against arrest while the Diet is in session and arrested members must be released during the term of the session if the House demands. They are immune outside the house for words spoken and votes cast in the House. [16] [17] Each house of the Diet determines its own standing orders and has responsibility for disciplining its own members. A member may be expelled, but only by a two-thirds majority vote. Every member of the Cabinet has the right to appear in either house of the Diet for the purpose of speaking on bills, and each house has the right to compel the appearance of Cabinet members. [18]

Legislative process

The vast majority of bills are submitted to the Diet by the Cabinet. [19] Bills are usually drafted by the relevant ministry, sometimes with the advisory of an external committee if the issue is sufficiently important or neutrality is necessary. [20] Such advisory committees may include university professors, trade union representatives, industry representatives, and local governors and mayors, and invariably include retired officials. [19] Such draft bills would be sent to the Cabinet Legislation Bureau of the government, as well as to the ruling party. [19]


The National Diet Library contains four buildings in one. These buildings include: the main building, the annex, the Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library and the International Library of Children's Literature.

Main Building Has a centralized stack system and "For rapid movement of materials, the stack space is equipped with pneumatic carrier pipe and vertical/horizontal conveyor systems". [21] Surrounding the stack space unit, the administrative space contains a catalog hall, reading rooms and research rooms for both general visitors and diet members.

Annex Located North of the Main Building, "special design emphasis on natural and harmonious linkage with the Main Building". [22] The annex also houses the exhibition room and an auditorium.

Kansai-kan of the National Diet Library It is a facility in Keihanna Science City that acts as a storage space and the center for library services; for the advanced information communications society for library materials, information supply service, electronic library functions and enhanced documents.

International Library of Children's Literature Contains the children's library, stacks and a researcher's reading room.


Japan's first modern legislature was the Imperial Diet (帝国議会, Teikoku-gikai) established by the Meiji Constitution in force from 1889 to 1947. The Meiji Constitution was adopted on February 11, 1889, and the Imperial Diet first met on November 29, 1890, when the document entered into force. [23] The first Imperial Diet of 1890 was plagued by controversy and political tensions. The Prime Minister of Japan at that time was General Count Yamagata Aritomo, who entered into a confrontation with the legislative body over military funding. During this time, there were many critics of the army who derided the Meiji slogan of "rich country, strong military" as in effect producing a poor county (albeit with a strong military). They advocated for infrastructure projects and lower taxes instead and felt their interests were not being served by high levels of military spending. As a result of these early conflicts, public opinion of politicians was not favorable. [24]

The Imperial Diet consisted of a House of Representatives and a House of Peers (貴族院, Kizoku-in). The House of Representatives was directly elected, if on a limited franchise; universal adult male suffrage was introduced in 1925. The House of Peers, much like the British House of Lords, consisted of high-ranking nobles. [25]

The word diet derives from Latin and was a common name for an assembly in medieval European polities such as the Holy Roman Empire. The Meiji Constitution was largely based on the form of constitutional monarchy found in nineteenth century Prussia and the new Diet was modelled partly on the German Reichstag and partly on the British Westminster system. Unlike the post-war constitution, the Meiji constitution granted a real political role to the Emperor, although in practice the Emperor's powers were largely directed by a group of oligarchs called the genrō or elder statesmen. [26]

To become law or bill, a constitutional amendment had to have the assent of both the Diet and the Emperor. This meant that while the Emperor could no longer legislate by decree he still had a veto over the Diet. The Emperor also had complete freedom in choosing the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and so, under the Meiji Constitution, Prime Ministers often were not chosen from and did not enjoy the confidence of the Diet. [25] The Imperial Diet was also limited in its control over the budget. However, the Diet could veto the annual budget, if no budget was approved the budget of the previous year continued in force. This changed with the new constitution after World War II. [27]

The proportional representation system for the House of Councillors, introduced in 1982, was the first major electoral reform under the post-war constitution. Instead of choosing national constituency candidates as individuals, as had previously been the case, voters cast ballots for parties. Individual councillors, listed officially by the parties before the election, are selected on the basis of the parties' proportions of the total national constituency vote. [28] The system was introduced to reduce the excessive money spent by candidates for the national constituencies. Critics charged, however, that this new system benefited the two largest parties, the LDP and the Japan Socialist Party (now Social Democratic Party), which in fact had sponsored the reform. [29]

List of sessions

There are three types of sessions of the National Diet: [30]

HCES – There is a fourth type of legislative session: If the House of Representatives is dissolved, a National Diet cannot be convened. In urgent cases, the cabinet may invoke an emergency session (緊急集会, kinkyū shūkai) of the House of Councillors to take provisional decisions for the whole Diet. As soon as the whole National Diet convenes again, these decisions must be confirmed by the House of Representatives or become ineffective. Such emergency sessions have been called twice in history, in 1952 and 1953. [31]

Any session of the Diet may be cut short by a dissolution of the House of Representatives. In the table, this is listed simply as "(dissolution)"; the House of Councillors or the National Diet as such cannot be dissolved.

List of Diet sessions [32]
DietTypeOpenedClosedLength in days
(originally scheduled+extension[s])
1stSMay 20, 1947December 9, 1947204 (50+154)
2ndRDecember 10, 1947July 5, 1948209 (150+59)
3rdEOctober 11, 1948November 30, 194851 (30+21)
4thRDecember 1, 1948December 23, 1948
23 (150)
5thSFebruary 11, 1949May 31, 1949110 (70+40)
6thEOctober 25, 1949December 3, 194940 (30+10)
7thRDecember 4, 1949May 2, 1950150
8thEJuly 21, 1950July 31, 195020
9thENovember 21, 1950December 9, 195019 (18+1)
10thRDecember 10, 1950June 5, 1951178 (150+28)
11thEAugust 16, 1951August 18, 19513
12thEOctober 10, 1951November 30, 195152 (40+12)
13thRDecember 10, 1951July 31, 1952225 (150+85)
14th (ja)RAugust 26, 1952August 28, 1952
3 (150)
[HCES]August 31, 1952August 31, 1952[1]
15th (ja)SOctober 24, 1952March 14, 1953
142 (60+99)
[HCES]March 18, 1953March 20, 1953[3]
16thSMay 18, 1953August 10, 195385 (75+10)
17thEOctober 29, 1953November 7, 195310 (7+3)
18thENovember 30, 1953December 8, 19539
19thRDecember 10, 1953June 15, 1957188 (150+38)
20thENovember 30, 1954December 9, 195410 (9+1)
21stRDecember 10, 1954January 24, 1955
46 (150)
22ndSMarch 18, 1955July 30, 1955135 (105+30)
23rdENovember 22, 1955December 16, 195525
24thRDecember 20, 1955June 3, 1956167 (150+17)
25thENovember 12, 1956December 13, 195632 (25+7)
26thRDecember 20, 1956May 19, 1957151 (150+1)
27thENovember 1, 1957November 14, 195714 (12+2)
28thRDecember 20, 1957April 25, 1958
127 (150)
29thSJune 10, 1958July 8, 195829 (25+4)
30thESeptember 29, 1958December 7, 195870 (40+30)
31stRDecember 10, 1958May 2, 1959144
32ndEJune 22, 1959July 3, 195912
33rdEOctober 26, 1959December 27, 195963 (60+13)
34thRDecember 29, 1959July 15, 1960200 (150+50)
35thEJuly 18, 1960July 22, 19605
36thEOctober 17, 1960October 24, 1960
8 (10)
37thSDecember 5, 1960December 22, 196018
38thRDecember 26, 1960June 8, 1961165 (150+15)
39thESeptember 25, 1961October 31, 196137
40thRDecember 9, 1961May 7, 1962150
41stEAugust 4, 1962September 2, 196230
42ndEDecember 8, 1962December 23, 196216 (12+4)
43rdRDecember 24, 1962July 6, 1963195 (150+45)
44thEOctober 15, 1963October 23, 1963
9 (30)
45thSDecember 4, 1963December 18, 196315
46thRDecember 20, 1963June 26, 1964190 (150+40)
47thENovember 9, 1964December 18, 196440
48thRDecember 21, 1964June 1, 1965163 (150+13)
49thEJuly 22, 1965August 11, 196521
50thEOctober 5, 1965December 13, 196570
51stRDecember 20, 1965June 27, 1966190 (150+40)
52ndEJuly 11, 1966July 30, 196620
53rdENovember 30, 1966December 20, 196621
54th (ja)RDecember 27, 1966December 27, 1966
1 (150)
55thSFebruary 15, 1967July 21, 1967157 (136+21)
56thEJuly 27, 1967August 18, 196723 (15+8)
57thEDecember 4, 1967December 23, 196720
58thRDecember 27, 1967June 3, 1968160 (150+10)
59thEAugust 1, 1968August 10, 196810
60thEDecember 10, 1968December 21, 196812
61stRDecember 27, 1968August 5, 1969222 (150+72)
62ndENovember 29, 1969December 2, 1969
4 (14)
63rdSJanuary 14, 1970May 13, 1970120
64th (ja)ENovember 24, 1970December 18, 197025
65thRDecember 26, 1970May 24, 1971150
66thEJuly 14, 1971July 24, 197111
67thEOctober 16, 1971December 27, 197173 (70+3)
68thRDecember 29, 1971June 16, 1972171 (150+21)
69thEJuly 6, 1972July 12, 19727
70thEOctober 27, 1972November 13, 1972
18 (21)
71st (ja)SDecember 22, 1972September 27, 1973280 (150+130)
72ndRDecember 1, 1973June 3, 1974185 (150+35)
73rdEJuly 24, 1974July 31, 19748
74thEDecember 9, 1974December 25, 197417
75thRDecember 27, 1974July 4, 1975190 (150+40)
76thESeptember 11, 1975December 25, 1975106 (75+31)
77thRDecember 27, 1975May 24, 1976150
78thESeptember 16, 1976November 4, 197650
79thEDecember 24, 1976December 28, 19765
80thRDecember 30, 1976June 9, 1977162 (150+12)
81stEJuly 27, 1977August 3, 19778
82ndESeptember 29, 1977November 25, 197758 (40+18)
83rdEDecember 7, 1977December 10, 19774
84thRDecember 19, 1977June 16, 1978180 (150+30)
85thESeptember 18, 1978October 21, 197834
86thEDecember 6, 1978December 12, 19787
87thRDecember 22, 1978June 14, 1979175 (150+25)
88thEAugust 30, 1979September 7, 1979
9 (30)
89thSOctober 30, 1979November 16, 197918
90thENovember 26, 1979December 11, 197916
91stRDecember 21, 1979May 19, 1980
151 (150+9)
92ndSJuly 17, 1980July 26, 198010
93rdESeptember 29, 1980November 29, 198062 (50+12)
94thRDecember 22, 1980June 6, 1981167 (150+17)
95thESeptember 27, 1981November 28, 198166 (55+11)
96th (ja)RDecember 21, 1981August 21, 1982244 (150+94)
97thENovember 26, 1982December 25, 198230 (25+5)
98thRDecember 28, 1982May 26, 1983150
99thEJuly 18, 1983July 23, 19836
100thESeptember 8, 1983November 28, 1983
82 (70+12)
101stSDecember 26, 1983August 8, 1984227 (150+77)
102ndRDecember 1, 1984June 25, 1985207 (150+57)
103rdEOctober 14, 1985December 21, 198569 (62+7)
104thRDecember 24, 1985May 22, 1986150
105th (ja)EJune 2, 1986June 2, 1986
106thSJuly 22, 1986July 25, 19864
107thESeptember 11, 1986July 25, 19864
108thRDecember 29, 1986May 27, 1987150
109thEJuly 6, 1987September 19, 198776 (65+11)
110thENovember 6, 1987November 11, 19876
111thENovember 27, 1987December 12, 198716
112thRDecember 28, 1987May 25, 1988150
113thEJuly 19, 1988December 28, 1988163 (70+93)
114thRDecember 30, 1988June 22, 1989175 (150+25)
115thEAugust 7, 1989August 12, 19896
116thESeptember 28, 1989December 16, 198980
117thRDecember 25, 1989January 24, 1990
31 (150)
118thSFebruary 27, 1990June 26, 1990120
119thEOctober 12, 1990November 10, 199030
120thRDecember 10, 1990May 8, 1991150
121stEAugust 5, 1991October 4, 199161
122ndENovember 5, 1991December 21, 199147 (36+11)
123rdRJanuary 24, 1992June 21, 1992150
124thEAugust 7, 1992August 11, 19925
125thEOctober 30, 1992December 10, 199242 (40+2)
126thRJanuary 22, 1993June 18, 1993
148 (150)
127thSAugust 5, 1993August 28, 199324 (10+14)
128thESeptember 17, 1993January 29, 1994135 (90+45)
129thRJanuary 31, 1994June 29, 1994150
130thEJuly 18, 1994July 22, 19945
131stESeptember 30, 1994December 9, 199471 (65+6)
132ndRJanuary 20, 1995June 18, 1995150
133rdEAugust 4, 1995August 8, 19955
134thESeptember 29, 1995December 15, 199578 (46+32)
135thEJanuary 11, 1996January 13, 19963
136th (ja)RJanuary 22, 1996June 19, 1996150
137thESeptember 27, 1996September 27, 1996
138thSNovember 7, 1996November 12, 19966
139thENovember 29, 1996December 18, 199620
140thRJanuary 20, 1997June 18, 1997150
141stESeptember 29, 1997December 12, 199775
142ndRJanuary 12, 1998June 18, 1998158 (150+8)
143rd (ja)EJuly 30, 1998October 16, 199879 (70+9)
144thENovember 27, 1998December 14, 199818
145thRJanuary 19, 1999August 13, 1999207 (150+57)
146thEOctober 29, 1999December 15, 199948
147thRJanuary 20, 2000June 2, 2000
135 (150)
148th (ja)SJuly 4, 2000July 6, 20003
149thEJuly 28, 2000August 9, 200013
150thESeptember 21, 2000December 1, 200072
151stRJanuary 31, 2001June 29, 2001150
152ndEAugust 7, 2001August 10, 20014
153rdESeptember 27, 2001December 7, 200172
154thRJanuary 21, 2002July 31, 2002192 (150+42)
155thEOctober 18, 2002December 13, 200257
156thRJanuary 20, 2003July 28, 2003190 (150+40)
157thESeptember 29, 2003October 10, 2003
15 (36)
158thSNovember 19, 2003November 27, 20039
159thRJanuary 19, 2004June 16, 2004150
160thEJuly 30, 2004August 6, 20048
161stEOctober 12, 2004December 3, 200453
162ndRJanuary 21, 2005August 8, 2005
200 (150+55)
163rd (ja)SSeptember 21, 2005November 1, 200542
164th (ja)RJanuary 20, 2006June 18, 2006150
165th (ja)SSeptember 26, 2006December 19, 200685 (81+4)
166th (ja)RJanuary 25, 2007July 5, 2007162 (150+12)
167th (ja)EAugust 7, 2007August 10, 20074
168th (ja)ESeptember 10, 2007January 15, 2008128 (62+66)
169th (ja)RJanuary 18, 2008June 21, 2008156 (150+6)
170th (ja)ESeptember 24, 2008December 25, 200893 (68+25)
171st (ja)RJanuary 5, 2009July 21, 2009
198 (150+55)
172nd (ja)SSeptember 16, 2009September 19, 20094
173rd (ja)EOctober 26, 2009December 4, 200940 (36+4)
174th (ja)RJanuary 18, 2010June 16, 2010150
175th (ja)EJuly 30, 2010August 6, 20108
176th (ja)EOctober 1, 2010December 3, 201064
177th (ja)RJanuary 24, 2011August 31, 2011220 (150+70)
178th (ja)ESeptember 13, 2011September 30, 201118 (4+14)
179th (ja)EOctober 20, 2011December 9, 201151
180th (ja)RJanuary 24, 2012September 8, 2012229 (150+79)
181st (ja)EOctober 29, 2012November 16, 2012
19 (33)
182nd (ja)SDecember 26, 2012December 28, 20123
183rd (ja)RJanuary 28, 2013June 26, 2013150
184th (ja)EAugust 2, 2013August 7, 20136
185th (ja)EOctober 15, 2013December 8, 201355 (53+2)
186th (ja)RJanuary 24, 2014June 22, 2014150
187th (ja)ESeptember 29, 2014November 21, 2014
54 (63)
188th (ja)SDecember 24, 2014December 26, 20143
189th (ja)RJanuary 26, 2015September 27, 2015245 (150+95)
190th (ja)RJanuary 4, 2016June 1, 2016150
191st (ja)EAugust 1, 2016August 3, 20163
192nd (ja)ESeptember 26, 2016December 17, 201683 (66+17)
193rd (ja)RJanuary 20, 2017June 18, 2017150
194th (ja)ESeptember 28, 2017September 28, 2017
195th (ja)SNovember 1, 2017December 9, 201739
196th (ja)RJanuary 22, 2018July 22, 2018182 (150+32)
197th (ja)EOctober 24, 2018December 10, 201848
198th (ja)RJanuary 28, 2019June 26, 2019150
199th (ja)EAugust 1, 2019August 5, 20195
200th (ja)EOctober 4, 2019December 9, 201967
201st (ja)RJanuary 20, 2020June 17, 2020150
202nd (ja)ESeptember 16, 2020September 18, 20203

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The Government of Japan is the central government of Japan. The Government of Japan consists of legislature, executive and judiciary branches and is based on popular sovereignty. The Government runs under the framework established by the Constitution of Japan, adopted in 1947. It is a unitary state, containing forty-seven administrative divisions, with the Emperor as its Head of State. His role is ceremonial and he has no powers related to Government. Instead, it is the Cabinet, comprising the Ministers of State and the Prime Minister, that directs and controls the Government and the civil service. The Cabinet has the executive power and is formed by the Prime Minister, who is the Head of Government. He is designated by the National Diet and appointed to office by the Emperor.

2021 Japanese general election

The 49th general election of members of the House of Representatives is scheduled on or before 22 October 2021, as required by the Constitution of Japan. Voting will take place in all Representatives constituencies of Japan including proportional blocks, in order to appoint Members of Diet to seats in the House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet of Japan. As the cabinet has to resign after a general House of Representatives election in the first post-election Diet session, the lower house election will also lead to a new designation election of the Prime Minister in the Diet, and the appointment of a new cabinet.

2019 Japanese House of Councillors election

The 25th regular election of members of the House of Councillors was held on 21 July 2019 to elect 124 of the 245 members of the House of Councillors, the upper house of the then 710-member bicameral National Diet of Japan, for a term of six years.


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Coordinates: 35°40′33″N139°44′42″E / 35.67583°N 139.74500°E / 35.67583; 139.74500