How many members of the Diet are there and how are they elected?
As of June 2004, the House of Representatives has 480 members and the House of Councilors has 247.
The number in the House of Representatives reflects the most recent revision of the election law, which, after heated discussions, was enacted in 1994.
The election system for the House of Representatives consists of two voting methods.
0f the 480 seats, 300 are elected according to the "small electoral district system," in which one candidate is elected for each of the 300 districts of the country.
And the "proportional representation system" is applied to the remaining 180 seats.
With this system, the country is divided into 11 large electoral districts, and votes are cast for political parties instead of candidates.
The seats for members of the Diet are allocated to each party in proportion to the number of votes gained nationwide.
Therefore, a voter casts a ballot for one candidate in the small electoral district, and a ballot for one party in the larger proportional electoral district.
98 members of the House of Councilors are elected according to the "proportional representation system" and the remaining 149 members are elected from electoral districts based on prefectural units.
Terms of office are four years for members of the House of Representatives and six years for members of the House of Councilors.
Half of the members of the House of Councilors are elected every three years.