The term of "Cabinet" appeared in Japanese governing system for the first time when Dajokan-syokusei, an ordinance to set a framework of Dajokan, a supreme body of the Imperial Court, was revised in 1873. It stipulated that the responsibility of the Councillor (Sangi) of the main office (Shoin) of Dajokan was "in charge of administrative and policy affairs as an official of the Cabinet." At the same time Shoin-jimu-syotei, an ordinance to set a framework of Shoin was revised and stated "Shoin is a body to administer the state in which the Emperor makes decisions, the Grand Ministers of State and the Ministers of the Left and Right assist the Emperor, and the Councillors discuss and make plans." It also stated, "the Cabinet is a core governing body where the Emperor have the Councillors to review legislative and administrative affairs." These stipulations clarified the difference between the Grand Ministers of State and the Ministers of the Left and Right as advisers to the Emperor and the Councillors as planners of state policies. However, the Cabinet in these stipulations was completely different from what it is today.
The Cabinet comprising a council system, consisting of the Prime Minister and the other Ministers of State as the Cabinet is comprised today was set up by the 69th Instruction of Dajokan issued on December 22, 1885. With this, the Cabinet system was established as an administrative mechanism centering on the Prime Minister and Ministers of State which was appropriate for a modern state.
The Cabinet system has played its role for more than 110 years through Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei eras.