prefecture(redirected from Préfectures in France)
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(1) In Rome under the republic, a municipium (municipality) deprived by Rome of self-rule and placed under the supervision of a prefect. From the time of the emperor Constantine I at the beginning of the fourth century the term served to designate an administrative unit. The entire empire was divided into four prefectures—the East, Illyricum (Illyria), Italy, and Gaul—each of which was governed by a praetorian prefect.
(2) In Japan, the designation for the principal administrative and territorial units.