Official Gazettes

"Official Gazettes" are national journals which contain national public information including laws, treaties, ordinances of each ministry and office, etc. This webpage briefly introduces an outline of Official Gazettes and how to research them on the internet.

The webpage How to search Official Gazettes (Information on laws and ordinances)  (Japanese)describes Official Gazettes precisely.

Overview of Official Gazettes

The first editions of Official Gazettes were published in July 2, 1883(Meiji 16). Since then, first editions were newly issued in accordance with changes of era names (i.e. Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei). Official Gazettes are published daily except for Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.

Type of Official Gazettes includes "regular editions", "extra editions" and "indexes". Extra editions are issued to provide some contents that were not included in the regular edition, which information includes government procurements, special editions for urgent matters, and minutes of the sessions of the National Diet Lower House and Upper House, etc.
In addition, the "Reference Edition", which contains materials investigated by the government, the "Commodity Price Edition", which contains notifications on commodity prices, and "Official Gazette English Edition" were published in the past.

Official Gazettes contain laws and regulations (L&Rs) which mean laws, treaties, notifications and ordinances of the government, each ministry and office.
According to a Supreme Court precedent, "it was deemed appropriate to promulgate laws through the Official Gazette"; therefore, the text of laws can be confirmed on Official Gazettes on the promulgation day.

In addition to the above, Official Gazettes contain National Diet matters (matters of the National Diet Lower House and Upper House, and the National Diet Library, etc.), Personnel transfers (movement of ministers and staff within individual ministries), investitures, honors and decorations, Government agency reports (matters relating to the minimum wage and national examinations, etc.), Pronouncements from courts (bankruptcies, etc.) and Pronouncements from companies (account statements, etc.) 

  • Promulgation of lawsLink to an external site (National Printing Bureau)
    This part gives an overview and promulgation of laws posted on Official Gazettes.
  • Articles of Official GazetteLink to an external site (National Printing Bureau)
    This part describes articles posted in Official Gazettes.

How to search Official Gazettes

Websites available for searching Official Gazettes include:

  • Online Official Gazettes ServiceLink to an external site (National Printing Bureau) (Japanese)
    This service provides the Official Gazettes (regular editions、extra editions、government procurements and others) for the latest 30-day period in PDF format. Also, by clicking Past Official Gazettes, information of laws and government ordinances promulgated since July 15, 2003 and government procurements after April 1, 2016 will be available. This service, however, does not contain Minutes of the sessions of the National Diet in extra editions.
  • Full-text Database System for the Minutes of the Diet (National Diet Library) (Japanese)
    Minutes of National Diet's plenary sessions are issued as Extra editions of Official Gazettes. The database system shows minutes of committee sessions in addition to plenary sessions in text and PDF format. Minutes can be presented by clicking "Selective Inspection", then choosing the house and session number.  "Simple Search" or "Detail Search" can be used for searching Speaker name, Session name and number, and key words.
  • National Diet Library Digital Collections - Official Gazettes (National Diet Library)
    Digitalized Official Gazettes from the first edition to April 30, 1952 are available in the database.

    Users can search by issue data and a keyword on Detail Search screen.

  • Official Gazette, English Edition (National Diet Library)
    Digital images of all Official Gazettes English editions (from April 4,1946 to April 28, 1952) are available.
  • Official Gazette, English EditionLink to an external site (Japan Legal Information Institute) (Japanese)
    Digital images of all Official Gazettes English editions (from April 4, 1946 to April 28, 1952) are available. In addition, users can search by typing titles of laws in Search ScreenLink to an external site .
  • Official Gazettes, Material EditionLink to an external site (Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet) (Japanese)
    Official Gazettes Material Edition from 1997 to 2004 are available in text form.
  • Japanese Government ProcurementLink to an external site (Japan External Trade Organization)
    This website explains government procurements in English. Also, it contains information on local government. Government procurements posted on Official Gazettes can be searched by date, commodity or service category.