Organization

Plenary Sessions

Plenary sessions are meetings of all the members of the House. The will of the House is determined at these sessions. The deliberations of each House are, as a rule, open to the public, and business cannot be transacted in either House unless one-third or more of the total House membership is present. All matters are decided by a majority of those present, except as elsewhere provided.

There are four ways of voting at plenary sessions at the House of Councillors: oral (Members are asked whether they have any objections), standing (Members are requested to rise if they are in favor of a question), open-ballot (Members in favor of the bill cast white ballot slips with their names on them and Members in opposition cast blue slips), and push-button (Members cast their vote by pushing the"approval" or "objection" button at their seats). Push-button ballot was introduced into the House of Councillors in January 1998.

Generally, plenary sessions begin at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the House of Councillors and at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at the House of Representatives, when the Diet is in session. During a session, the President has the power to call a plenary session on any other day when he/she deems it necessary.

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