How do you differentiate "a Japanese government" from "the Japanese government"? See examples below.

Every time a Japanese government tries to do more to help its allies, or to contribute more to UN peacekeeping operations, pacifists cry "unconstitutional". https://www.economist.com/leaders/2017/10/28/time-for-japans-prime-minister-to-change-the-constitution

The government of a country means the group of people who govern the country, or it might refer to the entire organization itself made up of those people, usually politicians. In Japan, there is only one government governing the country, so I wonder how "a Japanese government" is possible.

Those who write or speak "a Japanese government" assume there are more than one government in Japan?

1 Answer 1


"The" Japanese government is the current government which (as of today) is headed by Abe Shinzō.

"A" Japanese government is any of the many governments throughout history: for example the Koizumi government of 2001-2006, or the Yoshida government of the 1950s. each one is "a Japanese government". Sometimes (and in context) "A government" might refer to the period when one party was in control "There was a Labour government in the UK from 1997 to 2010", or to a particular set of ministers "The Prime Minister had to form a new government after the resignation of his finance minister"

  • 1
    Wow, I couldn't think of that, but it makes sense. English is really a logical language. Thank you.
    – Takashi
    Jul 23, 2020 at 1:11
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    "English is really a logical language." Yes, let's pretend that's true.
    – James K
    Jul 23, 2020 at 1:14

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