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Prefectures

# Prefecture Japanese Capital Region Island
23 Aichi 愛知県 Nagoya Chūbu Honshū
5 Akita 秋田県 Akita Tōhoku Honshū
2 Aomori 青森県 Aomori Tōhoku Honshū
12 Chiba 千葉県 Chiba Kantō Honshū
38 Ehime 愛媛県 Matsuyama Shikoku Shikoku
18 Fukui 福井県 Fukui Chūbu Honshū
40 Fukuoka 福岡県 Fukuoka Kyūshū Kyūshū
7 Fukushima 福島県 Fukushima Tōhoku Honshū
21 Gifu 岐阜県 Gifu Chūbu Honshū
10 Gunma 群馬県 Maebashi Kantō Honshū
34 Hiroshima 広島県 Hiroshima Chūgoku Honshū
1 Hokkaidō 北海道 Sapporo Hokkaidō Hokkaidō
28 Hyōgo 兵庫県 Kobe Kansai Honshū
8 Ibaraki 茨城県 Mito Kantō Honshū
17 Ishikawa 石川県 Kanazawa Chūbu Honshū
3 Iwate 岩手県 Morioka Tōhoku Honshū
37 Kagawa 香川県 Takamatsu Shikoku Shikoku
46 Kagoshima 鹿児島県 Kagoshima Kyūshū Kyūshū
14 Kanagawa 神奈川県 Yokohama Kantō Honshū
39 Kōchi 高知県 Kōchi Shikoku Shikoku
43 Kumamoto 熊本県 Kumamoto Kyūshū Kyūshū
26 Kyoto 京都府 Kyoto Kansai Honshū
24 Mie 三重県 Tsu Kansai Honshū
4 Miyagi 宮城県 Sendai Tōhoku Honshū
45 Miyazaki 宮崎県 Miyazaki Kyūshū Kyūshū
20 Nagano 長野県 Nagano Chūbu Honshū
42 Nagasaki 長崎県 Nagasaki Kyūshū Kyūshū
29 Nara 奈良県 Nara Kansai Honshū
15 Niigata 新潟県 Niigata Chūbu Honshū
44 Ōita 大分県 Ōita Kyūshū Kyūshū
33 Okayama 岡山県 Okayama Chūgoku Honshū
47 Okinawa 沖縄県 Naha Okinawa Ryūkyū
27 Osaka 大阪府 Osaka Kansai Honshū
41 Saga 佐賀県 Saga Kyūshū Kyūshū
11 Saitama 埼玉県 Saitama Kantō Honshū
25 Shiga 滋賀県 Otsu Kansai Honshū
32 Shimane 島根県 Matsue Chūgoku Honshū
22 Shizuoka 静岡県 Shizuoka Chūbu Honshū
9 Tochigi 栃木県 Utsunomiya Kantō Honshū
36 Tokushima 徳島県 Tokushima Shikoku Shikoku
13 Tokyo 東京都 Shinjuku Kantō Honshū
31 Tottori 鳥取県 Tottori Chūgoku Honshū
16 Toyama 富山県 Toyama Chūbu Honshū
30 Wakayama 和歌山県 Wakayama Kansai Honshū
6 Yamagata 山形県 Yamagata Tōhoku Honshū
35 Yamaguchi 山口県 Yamaguchi Chūgoku Honshū
19 Yamanashi 山梨県 Kofu Chūbu Honshū
Prefectures of Japan - These are the country's 47 sub-national jurisdictions: one "metropolis" (都 to), Tokyo; one "circuit" (道 dō), Hokkaidō; two urban prefectures (府 fu), Osaka and Kyoto; and 43 other prefectures (県 ken). In Japanese, they are commonly referred to as todōfuken (都道府県). Prefectures are governmental bodies larger than cities, towns, and villages. Each prefecture is led by a directly elected governor and a single-chamber parliament.

The current system was established by the Meiji government in July 1871 with the abolition of the han system and establishment of the prefecture system (廃藩置県 haihan-chiken). Although there were initially over 300 prefectures, many of them being former han territories, this number was reduced to 72 in the latter part of 1871, and 47 in 1888. The Local Autonomy Law of 1947 gave more political power to prefectures, and installed prefectural governors and parliaments.

In 2003, then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi proposed that the government consolidate the current prefectures into about 10 regional states. The plan called for each region to have greater autonomy than existing prefectures. This process will reduce the number of sub-prefecture administrative regions, and is expected to cut administrative costs. The Japanese government is also considering a plan by which several groups of prefectures would merge, creating a sub-national administrative division system consisting of between nine and thirteen states, and giving these states more local autonomy than the current prefectures enjoy. As of December 2007, no reorganization has taken place.

Under the current Local Autonomy Law, each prefecture is further subdivided into cities (市 shi) and districts (郡 gun). Each district is further subdivided into towns (町 chō or machi) and villages (村 son or mura). Hokkaidō has 14 subprefectures and those act as branch offices (支庁 shichō) of the prefecture. Some other prefectures also have branch offices, which carry out prefectural administrative functions outside the capital.

Information source: “Prefectures of Japan.” wikipedia.org. Article date: 21 Feb. 2008. Retrieved: Wikipedia. 2 Mar. 2008 <Prefectures of Japan>.
 

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