The rules of local assembly (Fuken-kai) (府県会規則)

Established in the Meiji era, the Fuken-kai rules, which set the rules of local assemblies, were the first rules in Japan which specified the establishment of Fuken-kai in prefectures in Japan.

The year 1878
It was promulgated in the edict of DajokanNo.18 (Grand Council of State) on July 22, 1878, as one of the so-called three new bills related to the local government system. Before the establishment of the Fuken-kai rules, though there were examples in which some prefectural governors callied for advisory meetings (local assemblies), the local assembly did not exist as a legal system. The Fuken-kai rules are a local system, but it is the starting point for the modern Japan's assembly as well as the election system. Fuken-kai rules did not apply to Hokkaido or Okinawa prefecture.

The year 1890. It was abolished with the enforcement of the Fuken (prefectures) system.

Historical significance
The authority of the Fuken-kai under the Fuken-kai rules is acclaimed to be small and weak. Fuken-kai could not raise issues within the prefectures as prefectural governors held the right to submit bills. When enforcing resolutions, permission and approval from the prefectural governor were needed from all aspects. In addition, when prefectural governors conflicted with Fuken-ka, they dismissed it. Limitations also stand out from the perspective of the election system. Voting right and eligiblility to run for election were limited by gender and tax payment qualification. Although not specified in the articles, votes were signed.

However, when compared with the past, it is significant that a local assembly was launched by election. Fuken-kai became a stage for Jiyu Minken Undo (Movement for Liberty and People's Right).

Contents of the articles. It consists of 14 articles.
(Citation is a translation in modern language.)

Article 1 specified that the purpose of Fuken-kai was "to set the expense budget needed, based on local taxes, as well as the method for its collection." Fuken-kai is the name which combines prefectural assemblies (both "fu" and "ken").

Right to vote and eligibility to run for election
Five or less councilors were selected by public election (Article 10).

Qualifications to become a councilor were males who had reached his 25th birthday, who had a registered address in that prefecture, who have lived there for over three years, and who paid a land tax of over 10 yen (Article 13).

Qualifications to vote were males who had reached his 20th birthday, who had a registered address in that county/ward, and who paid a land tax of over 5 yen (Article 14).

"Those who are insane or idiotic," those who have been sentenced to more than 1 year in prison," those who have been declared bankrupt and have not finished paying for debts were not eligible to vote nor run for election.

Councilors were not privileged to be immune from arrest.

Terms etc.,
As for the term of Fuken-kai, there was an annual ordinary session and an extraordinary session that was held on a temporary basis.

Fuken-kai's detailed regulations for proceedings were set by Fuken-kai itself and were approved by the prefectural governor (Article 9), and the chairman and vice-chairman were to be elected by public election from among prefectural councilors and were approved by the prefectural governors.

The agenda specified receipt of financial results (Article 6), budget, local taxes collection (Article 1) as well as issues to be handled with the local taxes (Article 5).

Prefectural governors were to follow the decisions made by Fuken-kai regarding issues on local taxes, but if they thought they should not approve the decisions, they reported it to the minister of interior and asked for supervision. In addition, Fuken-kai discussed issues which prefectural governors asked for opinions, such as on measures to be taken in the prefecture (Article 8). All bills were to be submitted by prefectural governors.

However, councilors were able to propose to the central government, with an agreement from the majority of the session (Article 7).

Establishment of permanent committee
The Fuken-kai rules were revised in November 1880 and permanent commissioners were appointed. As the name suggests, several permanent commissioners, who were active even when Fuken-kai was not opened, were consulted and they were to express opinions.

[Original Japanese]