Gozenkaigi (Conference in the presence of the emperor) (御前会議)
Gozenkaigi was a conference convened since the Meiji period to establish important national policies in the presence of the emperor.
In a broad sense, the term Gozenkaigi collectively indicated conferences of the Privy Council which must be convened in the presence of the emperor, Kogosho Conference (the meeting held in the presence of the Emperor in the Kogosho conference room of Kyoto Imperial Palace when the Decree for the Restoration of Imperial Rule was issued) after the restoration of Imperial rule and conferences at the Imperial headquarters in which the emperor presented. But in a narrow sense, Gozenkaigi indicated joint meetings of elder statesmen, cabinet members and high-rank officers of the military held to discuss the pros and cons of wars against foreign countries and so on. The first Gozenkaigi was convened in 1894 to decide the start of the war against the Qing Dynasty. Subsequently, other Gozenkaigi were held to discuss matters such as the Triple Intervention and the Japanese-Russo War. Gozenkaigi was abolished during the Taisho period, but it was restored in 1938, and then, matters such as the agreements after the Sino-Japanese war, the Tripartite Pact, and the start of the war against the USA, England and the Netherland were decided at Gozenkaigi. Decisions made in Gozenkaigi could not be effective immediately as intentions of the state, and to put decisions in force, they were required to go through due formalities (such as being adopted during a cabinet meeting) after Gozenkaigi.
Except during the Gozenkaigi in 1945 for the acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, the emperor basically remained silent, but still, decisions of the emperor at Gozenkaigi were treated as a 'Imperial decision.'
Gozenkaigi during the Showa period (1938 - 1945)
Participants of Gozenkaigi
Minister of State
Chairman of the Privy Council
Chief of the General Staff
Vice chief of the General Staff
President of the Naval General Staff
Vice chief of the Naval General Staff
Minister of the Imperial Households