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Municipalities in Japan facts for kids

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Municipalities in Japan (市区町村, shikuchōson) are the local governments and sub-divisions of the island nation.

There are three main types of municipalities in Japan:

There is a fourth type of municipality — the 23 special wards of Tokyo.


In 1878, the national government enacted the "Municipalities Formation Law", the "Prefectural Assemblies Act", and the "Local Tax Ordinance". Japan was organized into three levels of government:

  1. the national government of Japan
  2. the mid-level Prefectures of Japan
  3. the local municipality governments

In 1889, the ''shikuchōson was refined to create 39 cities and 15,820 towns and villages. The "Municipal Government Act" was a blend of Japanese customs and Prussia’s local government system.

After 1898, local officials were elected in municipal elections.

Since the 19th century, Japan has been divided into 47 prefectures; and each prefecture has many districts and municipalities.

In 1947, the "Local Autonomy Law" (LAL) further refined Japan's municipalities.

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