Religious Juridical Persons and Administration of Religious Affairs

The Agency engages in proper management of the system of religious juridical persons, by certifying of religious juridical persons based on the Religious Juridical Persons Act and collecting information on religions.
In addition, the Religious Juridical Persons Council was established as an advisory organ of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.

What is a Religious Juridical Person?

"Religious organization" means any organization whose primary purposes consists of the dissemination of religious teachings, the conduct of ceremonies and functions, and the education and nurture of believers. A religious juridical person means a religious organization that obtains juridical status through certification by a prefectural governor or the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
Religious juridical persons have two categories. One is a single religious juridical person that has establishments for worship such as a shrine, temple, or church. The other is a comprehensive religious juridical person, which affiliates shrines, temples, or churches under its umbrella, such as a denomination, sect, or religious community. Among the single religious juridical persons, those under the umbrella of a comprehensive religious juridical person are called affiliated religious juridical persons. Those that are independent are called individual religious juridical persons.

Relationship Diagram of Religious Juridical Persons

Number of Religious Juridical Persons

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(As of December 31, 2014)

Jurisdiction Religion Category Total
Comprehensive religious juridical persons Single religious juridical persons
Affiliated religious juridical persons Individual religious juridical persons Subtotal
Comprehensive religious juridical persons under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Comprehensive religious juridical persons under the jurisdiction of a prefectural governor Comprehensive religious juridical persons under the comprehensive religious organization (not juridical person)
Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Shinto 124 22 1 71 94 218
Buddhism 157 164 4 129 297 454
Christianity 64 41 2 213 256 320
Others 29 27 52 79 108
Total 374 254 0 7 465 726 1,100
Prefectural governors Shinto 6 82,635 139 112 1,976 84,862 84,868
Buddhism 11 74,217 65 165 2,560 77,007 77,018
Christianity 7 2,738 28 38 1,562 4,366 4,373
Others 1 14,068 2 8 372 14,450 14,451
Total 25 173,658 234 323 6,470 180,685 180,710
Total 399 173,912 234 330 6,935 181,411 181,810

In principle, the authority responsible for religious juridical persons is the prefectural governor having jurisdiction over the location of its principal office.
The competent authority for the following religious juridical persons is the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology: a religious juridical person which has a house of worship in another prefecture;  which encompasses such religious corporation; which encompasses a religious corporation that is located in another prefecture.
When a religious juridical person opens or closes a precinct building in another prefecture, the competent authority changes.

Promotion of the Administration of Religious Affairs

 The Agency for Cultural Affairs carries out the following tasks to properly manage the religious juridical person system and ensure appropriate management and operation of religious juridical persons.

Program Description
Tasks related to implementation of the Religious Juridical Persons Act Certification of incorporation, alteration of the articles of incorporation, merger and voluntary dissolution of religious juridical persons
Guidance on the management and operation of religious juridical persons Guidance and advice to the prefectural administration for religious affairs.
Holding lectures for administrative officers in charge of religious affairs at the prefectural level.
Running practical seminars for religious juridical persons and producing manuals for them.
Collection and provision of religion-related resources Collection, development, and provision of religion-related statistics including Shukyo Nenkan (Religious Yearbook) and Shumu Jiho (News on Religious Affairs). Research on situations around religions
Religious Juridical Persons Council The Religious Juridical Persons Council discusses adverse disposition against a religious juridical person, and studies and discusses certification and related matters

Contact

Religious Affairs Division, Cultural Affairs Department

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