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Seitaisho

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  • Date: 1868/int.4/27
  • Japanese: 政体書 (seitaisho)

The Seitaisho, or "Document on the Form of Government," was issued by the Meiji government on 1868/int.4/27, and elaborated upon the Charter Oath of several months previous, laying out the governmental structures within which (or by which) the Charter Oath would be implemented.

Drafted by Soejima Taneomi and Fukuoka Takachika,[1] the Seitaisho delineates that power would be held by the Council of State (Dajôkan), which would be divided into executive, legislative, and judicial branches. This would end the problem of dual authorities (the Imperial Court and Tokugawa shogunate), while also creating a system of checks and balances. It also details methods by which members of the legislature would be selected, by popular ballot, for four-year terms, albeit with half the officials retaining their terms for six years, so as to set up a staggering effect, by which at any given time only half the officials were being replaced in elections, thus allowing for continuity of governance. Finally, a taxation system was to be set up by which all people of all social statuses - including salaried officials - would pay one-thirtieth of their income in tax, to support the government.

References

  • David Lu, Japan: A Documentary History, 306-309.
  1. "Soejima Taneomi," Kindai Nihonjin no shôzô, National Diet Library, 2013.
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