Ministry of Justice (Homusho)
The Ministry of Justice is in charge of a broad area of legal affairs, which include civil, criminal, immigration and other matters. In particular, it takes charge of nationality, family registration and registration of real estate, prosecution of criminal cases, correction and rehabilitation of offenders, litigations involving the interests of the State, immigration control and registration of foreign residents, and the protection of the rights of citizens in general. Thus the Ministry of Justice is primarily responsible for maintaining the legal order of the country in which the rule of law is ensured.
While in the pre-war days the Ministry of Justice (called as "Shihosho") had jurisdiction over all matters of judicial administration including supervision over the court operation, after the end of World WarII, with the enforcement of the New Constitution and the Court Organization Law as from May 3, 1947, the matters pertaining to courts, including their administration, have been transferred to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court independent of the Ministry of Justice.
With the enforcement of the Law for Establishment of the Attorney General's Office as from February 15, 1948, the Attorney General's Office (called as "Homucho") was established as the Supreme Legal Advisor to the Prime Minister in charge of the administration of justice,replacing the Ministry of Justice (Shihosho).
The new Office, in addition to the work of the Ministry of Justice (Shihosho), was them entrusted with the work of the examination of drafting of laws and regulations and international treaties which had been under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Bureau of the Cabinet, research and study of judicial and legal systems of other countries as well as matters pertaining to civil and administrative suits, and the work of the protection of human rights.
Through a number of subsequent administrative reforms starting from the one of June 1, 1949 to that of August 1, 1952, the Attorney General's Office was abolished and the new Ministry of Justice (called "Homusho") was born,accompanied with considerable organizational reforms, which included the abolition of the Attorney General and Assistants system and the introduction of the system of placing the Minister of Justice as head of the Ministry and Vice Minister of Justice under him as in the case of other Ministries of the Government.
Now, the Ministry is equipped with the Minister's Secretariat, and seven bureaus such as the Civil Affairs Bureau, the Criminal Affairs Bureau, the Correction Bureau, the Rehabilitation Bureau, the Litigation Bureau, the Civil Liberties Bureau and the Immigration Bureau. Although there have since been some changes, basically this is the organizational structure of the Ministry of Justice as it is today.
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