Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1119

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Local Government.

At the head of local adniiuistration in the provinces are the governors, one of thera residing in each of the 46 districts (3 Fus and 43 Kens) into which Japan is divided. In 1879, city and prefectural assemblies were created, based on the principle of election ; their power is confined to fixing the estimates of the local rates, subject to the confirmation of the governors, and finally of the Minister of the Interior. Eligible to the assembly are all male citizens 25 years of age, resident in the district at least three consecutive years, and pay- ing land tax of more than ten yen annually. The franchise is conferred on all male citizens of 20 years residing in the district, and paying more than five yen land tax. Annually, or in every other year, governors are summoned to the Department of the Interior to deliberate upon matters of local administra- tion. Each district is subdivided into cities {ku), and counties {gun), each with its chief magistrate {cho), who manages local affairs. The Island of Hokkaido (Yezo) has a governor and a special organisation.

To further carry out the principle of decentralisation and self-government a system of local administration in ski (municipality), clio (town), and son (village) was established by Imperial Rescript, April 17, 1888, which came into effect April 1, 1889, and is to be applied gradually according to the circumstances and rer^uirements of these localities.

Area and Population.

The Empire is geographically divided into the four islands of Honshiu or Nippon, the central and most important territory ; Kiushiu, * the nine provinces,' the south-western island ; Shikoku,

  • the four states,' the southern island ; and Hokkaido (Yezo) to

the north of Honshiu ; besides the Liukiu, Sado, Awaji, Oki, Tsushima, Bonin Islands, Formosa, and the Pescadores Is- lands. The last two possessions were ceded by China, in ac- cordance with the treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895. Formosa has the area of 13,541 square miles, with a population of about 1,996,989. The area of the Pescadores is estimated at 49 square miles, with a population of about 44,820. Administratively there exists a division into three * Fu ' and forty-three * Ken,' or prefectures. There is also a political division into 85 provinces, 44 urban and 705 rural arrondissements, 1,102 towns, and 13,681 villages (number of villages of Okinaw prefecture excluded) (1896).

The population of Japan has increased as follows in six years : —


1800 1891 1892

Population (Dec. 31)


40,718,677 41,089,940

Annual Increase per cent.


0-66 0-91



1898 '



Population (Dec. 31)

41,388,313 41,813,215 42,270,620

Annual Increase per cent.

0-73 103 1-09

The tot^,! area of Japan (witjiout Formosa and Pescadores