The First Ito Cabinet (第1次伊藤内閣)

The First Ito Cabinet was launched when Sangi (councilor), Hirobumi ITO was assigned as the first prime minister and lasted from December 22 to April 30. His administration lasted for 861 days.

It was the first Japanese Cabinet based on the cabinet system founded after abolishing the System of Departments of State by Dajokan tasshi (proclamation by the Grand Council of State) number 69. The Cabinet authority which prescribed its administration was established at the same time the Cabinet system was launched.


Its aim was to establish the national mechanism which prepared for forthcoming constitutional monarchy. Organized with an emphasis on balanced assignment, the cabinet consisted mainly of people from domain cliques, with 4 people from the Choshu Domain and four from the Satsuma Domain being inducted into the cabinet (however, Kiyotaka KURODA, who was thought to be the central figure of the Satsuma clique, did not get a place in the Cabinet at that time).

The preparation for constitutional system progressed steadily as the reform of Imperial Japanese Army toward German-style system, education reform such as Imperial University Law and Primary School Order and establishment of local authority system were carried out, and Ito himself made the draft of the Constitution of the Empire of Japan along with Kowashi INOUE, Kentaro KANEKO, and Miyoji ITO.

However, the policy of Europeanization represented by Rokumeikan and 'a foreigner judge' system, which was included in the amendment of the treaty promoted by Ito's sworn ally Kaoru INOUE, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Japan), antagonized inside and outside Japan, and criticism of the government was mounted rapidly due to the petition of three major affairs by democratic-rights movement, the movement to unite for a common purpose and the resignation of Tateki TANI, Minister of Agriculture and Commerce, who was thought to be a member of conservative political party (direct rule by the emperor party) ([The crisis of the 20th year of the Meiji era]). So Ito was obliged to have Inoue step down and took his political enemies Shigenobu OKUMA and Kiyotaka KURODA into cabinet as a Minister of Foreign Affair and a Minister of Agriculture and Commerce respectively, and set out to suppress the Freedom and People's Rights Movement Party, however, he resigned from prime minister to assume as Chairman of the Privy Council with the view to concentrating on the establishment of constitution and Former Imperial House Act.

[Original Japanese]