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The Constitution of Japan (Shinjitai: 日本国憲法 Kyūjitai: 日本國憲法 Nihon-Koku Kenpō ?) has been the founding legal document of Japan since 1947. The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights. Under its terms the Emperor of Japan is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people" and exercises a purely ceremonial role without the possession of sovereignty. The constitution, also called "the Peace Constitution ( 平和憲法 Heiwa-Kenpō ?)," is most characteristic and famous for the renunciation of the right to wage war contained in Article 9 and to a lesser extent, the provision for de jure popular sovereignty in conjunction with the monarchy.

The constitution was drawn up under the Allied occupation that followed World War II and was intended to replace Japan's previous militaristic absolute monarchy system with a form of liberal democracy. Currently, it is a rigid document and no subsequent amendment has been made to it since its adoption.

Contents

Historical origins

Meiji constitution

"Emperor's words"

The Constitution of the Empire of Japan of 1889 (more commonly known as the "Imperial" or "Meiji Constitution"), was the first modern constitution of the country. Enacted as part of the Meiji Renewal, it provided for a form of constitutional monarchy based on the Prussian model. In effect, the Emperor of Japan would appear to be an active ruler wielding considerable political power, but in fact would be wholly supported and controlled by the Cabinet, whose Prime Minister would be elected by a Privy Council. Under its terms, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet were not necessarily chosen from the elected members of the Diet. Pursuing the regular amending procedure of the "Meiji Constitution", it was entirely revised to become the Peace Constitution on 3 November 1946. The Peace Constitution has been in force since 3 May 1947.

The Potsdam Declaration

On 26 July 1945 Allied leaders Winston Churchill, Harry S Truman, and Chiang Kai-Shek issued the Potsdam Declaration, which demanded Japan's unconditional surrender. This declaration also defined the major goals of the postsurrender Allied occupation: "The Japanese government shall remove all obstacles to the revival and strengthening of democratic tendencies among the Japanese people. Freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, as well as respect for the fundamental human rights shall be established" (Section 10). In addition, the document stated: "The occupying forces of the Allies shall be withdrawn from Japan as soon as these objectives have been accomplished and there has been established in accordance with the freely expressed will of the Japanese people a peacefully inclined and responsible government" (Section 12). The Allies sought not merely punishment or reparations from a militaristic foe, but fundamental changes in the nature of its political system. In the words of political scientist Robert E. Ward: "The occupation was perhaps the single most exhaustively planned operation of massive and externally directed political change in world history."

Drafting process

The Constitution of Japan was largely drafted by US lawyers in the occupation authority. This image is of a secret memo written by members of the authority on the subject of the new constitution.

The wording of the Potsdam Declaration—"The Japanese Government shall remove all obstacles..."—and the initial postsurrender measures taken by Douglas MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), suggest that neither he nor his superiors in Washington intended to impose a new political system on Japan unilaterally. Instead, they wished to encourage Japan's new leaders to initiate democratic reforms on their own. But by early 1946, MacArthur's staff and Japanese officials were at odds over the most fundamental issue, the writing of a new constitution. Emperor Showa, Prime Minister Shidehara Kijuro and most of the cabinet members were extremely reluctant to take the drastic step of replacing the 1889 Meiji Constitution with a more liberal document[1]. In late 1945, Shidehara appointed Joji Matsumoto, state minister without portfolio, head of a blue-ribbon committee of constitutional scholars to suggest revisions. The Matsumoto Commission's recommendations, made public in February 1946, were quite conservative (described by one Japanese scholar in the late 1980s as "no more than a touching-up of the Meiji Constitution"). MacArthur rejected them outright and ordered his staff to draft a completely new document.

Much of it was drafted by two senior army officers with law degrees: Milo Rowell and Courtney Whitney. The articles about equality between men and women are reported to be written by Beate Sirota. Although the document's authors were non-Japanese, they took into account the Meiji Constitution, the demands of Japanese lawyers, and the opinions of pacifist political leaders such as Shidehara and Yoshida Shigeru. The draft was presented to surprised Japanese officials on 13 February 1946. On 6 March 1946 the government publicly disclosed an outline of the pending constitution. On 10 April elections were held to the House of Representatives of the Ninetieth Imperial Diet, which would consider the proposed constitution. The election law having been changed, this was the first general election in Japan in which women were permitted to vote.

The MacArthur draft, which proposed a unicameral legislature, was changed at the insistence of the Japanese to allow a bicameral legislature, both houses being elected. In most other important respects, however, the ideas embodied in the 13 February document were adopted by the government in its own draft proposal of 6 March. These included the constitution's most distinctive features: the symbolic role of the Emperor, the prominence of guarantees of civil and human rights, and the renunciation of war.

Adoption

"The Imperial Signature (upper right) and Seal"
"The Preamble to the Constitution"

It was decided that in adopting the new document the Meiji Constitution would not be violated, but rather legal continuity would be maintained. Thus the 1946 constitution was adopted as an amendment to the Meiji Constitution in accordance with the provisions of Article 73 of that document. Under Article 73 the new constitution was formally submitted to the Imperial Diet by the Emperor, through an imperial rescript issued on 20 June. The draft constitution was submitted and deliberated upon as the Bill for Revision of the Imperial Constitution. The old constitution required that the bill receive the support of a two-thirds majority in both houses of the Diet in order to become law. After both chambers had made some amendments the House of Peers approved the document on 6 October; it was adopted in the same form by the House of Representatives the following day, with only five members voting against, and finally became law when it received the Emperor's assent on 3 November. Under its own terms the constitution came into effect six months later on 3 May, 1947.

Early proposals for amendment

The new constitution would not have been written the way it was had MacArthur and his staff allowed Japanese politicians and constitutional experts to resolve the issue as they wished. The document's foreign origins have, understandably, been a focus of controversy since Japan recovered its sovereignty in 1952. Yet in late 1945 and 1946, there was much public discussion on constitutional reform, and the MacArthur draft was apparently greatly influenced by the ideas of certain Japanese liberals. The MacArthur draft did not attempt to impose a United States-style presidential or federal system. Instead, the proposed constitution conformed to the British model of parliamentary government, which was seen by the liberals as the most viable alternative to the European absolutism of the Meiji Constitution.

After 1952 conservatives and nationalists attempted to revise the constitution to make it more "Japanese", but these attempts were frustrated for a number of reasons. One was the extreme difficulty of amending it. Amendments require approval by two-thirds of the members of both houses of the National Diet before they can be presented to the people in a referendum (Article 96). Also, opposition parties, occupying more than one-third of the Diet seats, were firm supporters of the constitutional status quo. Even for members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the constitution was advantageous. They had been able to fashion a policy-making process congenial to their interests within its framework. Yasuhiro Nakasone, a strong advocate of constitutional revision during much of his political career, for example, downplayed the issue while serving as prime minister between 1982 and 1987.

Main provisions

Structure

The constitution has a length of approximately 5,000 words. It consists of a preamble and 103 articles grouped into eleven chapters. These are:

  • I. The Emperor (1–8)
  • II. Renunciation of War (9)
  • III. Rights and Duties of the People (10–40)
  • IV. The Diet (41–64)
  • V. The Cabinet (65–75)
  • VI. Judiciary (76–82)
  • VII. Finance (83–91)
  • VIII. Local Self–Government (92–95)
  • IX. Amendments (96)
  • X. Supreme Law (97–99)
  • XI. Supplementary Provisions (100–103)

Founding principles

The constitution contains a firm declaration of the principle of popular sovereignty in the preamble. This is proclaimed in the name of the "Japanese people" and declares that "sovereign power resides with the people" and

government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by the representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people.

Part of the purpose of this language is to refute the previous constitutional theory that sovereignty resided in the Emperor. The constitution asserts that the Emperor is merely a symbol and that he derives "his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power" (Article 1). The text of the constitution also asserts the liberal doctrine of fundamental human rights. In particular Article 97 states that

the fundamental human rights by this Constitution guaranteed to the people of Japan are fruits of the age-old struggle of man to be free; they have survived the many exacting tests for durability and are conferred upon this and future generations in trust, to be held for all time inviolate.

Organs of government

Politics Under Constitution of Japan
Main article: Government of Japan

The constitution establishes a parliamentary system of government. The Emperor carries out most of the functions of a head of state but his role is merely ceremonial and, unlike the forms of constitutional monarchy found in some other nations, he possesses no reserve powers. Legislative authority is vested in a bicameral National Diet and, whereas previously the upper house had consisted of members of the nobility, the new constitution provided that both chambers be directly elected. Executive authority is exercised by a Prime Minister and cabinet answerable to the legislature, while the judiciary is headed by a Supreme Court.

Individual rights

"The rights and duties of the people" are prominently featured in the postwar constitution. Altogether, thirty-one of its 103 articles are devoted to describing them in considerable detail, reflecting the commitment to "respect for the fundamental human rights" of the Potsdam Declaration. Although the Meiji Constitution had a section devoted to the "rights and duties of subjects", which guaranteed "liberty of speech, writing, publication, public meetings, and associations", these rights were granted "within the limits of law". Freedom of religious belief was allowed "insofar as it does not interfere with the duties of subjects" (all Japanese were required to acknowledge the Emperor's divinity, and those, such as Christians, who refused to do so out of religious conviction were accused of lèse-majesté). Such freedoms are delineated in the postwar constitution without qualification.

  • Liberty: The constitution asserts the right of the people "to be respected as individuals" and, subject to "the public welfare", to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" (Article 13).
  • Equality: The constitution guarantees equality before the law and outlaws discrimination based on "political, economic or social relations" or "race, creed, sex, social status or family origin" (Article 14). The right to vote cannot be denied on the grounds of "race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property or income" (Article 44). Equality between the sexes is explicitly guaranteed in relation to marriage (Article 24) and childhood education (Article 26).
  • Prohibition of peerage: Article 14 forbids the state from recognising peerage. Honours may be conferred but they must not be hereditary or grant special privileges.
  • Democratic elections: Article 15 provides that "the people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them". It guarantees universal adult (in Japan, persons age 20 and older) suffrage and the secret ballot.
  • Prohibition of slavery: Guaranteed by Article 18. Involuntary servitude is only permitted as punishment for a crime.
  • Prohibition of establishment: Establishment is not explicitly mentioned. However, the state is prohibited from granting privileges or political authority to a religion, or conducting religious education (Article 20).
  • Freedom of assembly, association, speech, and secrecy of communications: All guaranteed without qualification by Article 21, which forbids censorship.
  • Workers' rights: Work is declared both a right and obligation to work by Article 27 which also states that "standards for wages, hours, rest and other working conditions shall be fixed by law" and that children shall not be exploited. Workers have the right to participate in a trade union (Article 28).
  • Right to property: Guaranteed subject to the "public welfare". The state may take property for public use if it pays just compensation (Article 29). The state also has the right to levy taxes (Article 30).
  • Right to due process: Article 31 provides that no one may be punished "except according to procedure established by law".
  • Protection against unlawful detention: Article 33 provides that no one may be apprehended without an arrest warrant, save where caught in flagrante delicto. Article 34 guarantees habeas corpus, right to counsel, and right to be informed of charges. Article 40 enshrines the right to sue the state for wrongful detention.
  • Right to a fair trial: Article 37 guarantees the right to a public trial before an impartial tribunal with counsel for one's defence and compulsory access to witnesses.
  • Protection against self-incrimination: Article 38 provides that no one may be compelled to testify against themselves, that confessions obtained under duress are not admissible and that no one may be convicted solely on the basis of their own confession.

Other provisions

  • Renunciation of war: Under Article 9 of the constitution the "Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes". To this end the article provides that "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained".
  • Judicial review: Article 98 provides that the constitution takes precedence over any "law, ordinance, imperial rescript or other act of government" that offends against its provisions.
  • International law: Article 98 provides that "the treaties concluded by Japan and established laws of nations shall be faithfully observed". In most nations it is for the legislature to determine to what extent, if at all, treaties concluded by the state will be reflected in its domestic law. Under Article 98, however, in theory at least, international law and the treaties Japan has ratified automatically form a part of domestic law.

Amendments and revisions

The constitution has not been amended once since its 1947 enactment. Article 96 provides that amendments can be made to any part of the constitution. However, a proposed amendment must first be approved by both houses of the Diet, by at least a super majority of two-thirds of each house (rather than just a simple majority). It must then be submitted to a referendum in which it is sufficient for it to be endorsed by a simple majority of votes cast. A successful amendment is finally promulgated by the Emperor, but the monarch cannot veto an amendment.

Some commentators have suggested that the difficulty of the amendment process was favoured by the constitution's American authors from a desire that the fundamentals of the regime they had imposed would be resistant to change. However, among Japanese themselves, any change to the document and to the post-war settlement it embodies is highly controversial. From the 1960s to the 1980s, constitutional revision was rarely debated [1]. In the 1990s, right-leaning and conservative voices broke some taboos [2], for example, when the Yomiuri Shimbun published a suggestion for constitutional revision in 1994 [3]. This period saw a number of right-leaning groups forming to aggressively push for constitutional revision, but also a significant number of organizations and individuals speaking out against revision [4] and in support of "the peace constitution."

The debate has been highly polarized. The most controversial issues are proposed changes to Article 9, the "peace article" and provisions relating to the role of the Emperor. Progressive, left, center-left and peace movement related individuals and organizations, as well as the opposition parties [5], labor [6] and youth groups advocate keeping (and even strengthening) the existing constitution in these areas, while right-leaning, nationalist and/or conservative groups and individuals advocate changes to increase the prestige of the Emperor (though not granting him political powers) and to allow a more aggressive stance of the self-defense force, e.g. by turning it officially into a military. Others areas of the constitution and connected laws discussed for potential revision relate to the status of women, the education system and the system of public corporations (including social welfare, non-profit and religious organizations as well as foundations), and structural reform of the election process, e.g. to allow for direct election of the prime minister [7]. There are countless grassroots groups, associations, NGOs, think tanks, scholars, and politicians speaking out in favor of one or the other side of the issue [8].

In August 2005, the then Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, proposed an amendment to the constitution in order to increase Japan's Defence Forces' roles in international affairs. A draft of the proposed constitution was released by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on 22 November 2005 as part of the fiftieth anniversary of the party's founding. The proposed changes included:

  • New wording for the Preamble.
  • First paragraph of Article 9, renouncing war, is retained. The second paragraph, forbidding the maintenance of "land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential" is replaced by an Article 9-2 which permits a "defence force", under control of the Prime Minister, which defends the nation and may participate in international activities. This new section uses the term "軍" (gun, army or military), which has been avoided under the current constitution. Also, addition in Article 76 of military courts. Members of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are currently tried as civilians by civilian courts.
  • Modified wording in Article 13, regarding respect for individual rights.
  • Changes in Article 20, which gives the state limited permission within "the scope of socially acceptable protocol" or "ethno-cultural practices". Changes Article 89 to permit corresponding state funding of religious institutions.
  • Changes to Articles 92 and 95, concerning local self-government and relations between local and national governments.
  • Changes to Article 96, reducing the vote requirement for constitutional amendments in the Diet from two thirds to a simple majority. A national referendum would still be required.

This draft fanned the debate, with strong opposition coming even from non-governmental organisations of other countries, as well as established and newly formed grassroots Japanese organisations, such as Save Article 9. Per the current constitution, a proposal for constitutional changes must be passed by a two-thirds vote in the Diet, then be put to a national referendum. However, there was in 2005 no legislation in place for such a referendum.

Koizumi's successor, Shinzo Abe vowed to push aggressively for constitutional revision. A major step toward this was getting legislation passed to allow for a national referendum in April 2007 [9]. However, by that time there was little public support for changing the constitution, with a survey showing 34.5 percent of Japanese not wanting any changes, 44.5 percent wanting no changes to Article 9, and 54.6 percent supporting the current interpretation on self-defense [10]. On the 60th anniversary of the constitution, on 3 May 2007, thousands took to the streets in support of Article 9 [11]. The Chief Cabinet secretary and other top government officials interpreted the survey to mean that the public wants a pacifist Constitution that renounces war, and may need to be better informed about the details of the revision debate [12]. The legislation passed by parliament specifies that a referendum on constitutional reform could take place at the earliest in 2010, and would need approval from a majority of voters.

Human rights guarantees in practice

See also: Human rights in Japan

International bodies such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee, which monitors compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Amnesty International have argued that many of the guarantees for individual rights contained in the Japanese constitution have not been effective in practice. Such critics have also argued that, contrary to Article 98, and its requirement that international law be treated as part of the domestic law of the state, human rights treaties to which Japan is a party are seldom enforced in Japanese courts.

Despite constitutional guarantees of the right to a fair trial, conviction rates in Japan approach 99%. In one study, the conviction rate in contested Japanese trials in 1994 was found to be 98.8%, while the comparable conviction rate in contested United States federal trials in 1994 was 30.9%. This was found to be due to the limited budgets for prosecutors in Japan compared to the United States, leading them to prosecute only the most solid cases. Bias by judges was found not to be a factor.[2]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ John Dower, Embracing Defeat, 1999, pp.374, 375, 383, 384.
  2. ^ Ramseyer, J. Mark; Rasmusen, Eric (January 2001), "Why is the Japanese Conviction Rate So High?", Journal of Legal Studies 30 (1): 53–88, doi:10.1086/468111, http://rasmusen.org/published/Rasmusen-01.JLS.jpncon.pdf  

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

External links


Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Constitution of Japan (Japanese: 日本國憲法 Nihonkoku Kenpō)
by the governments of Japan and the United States of America
The Constitution of Japan has been the founding legal document of Japan since 1947. The constitution provides for a parliamentary system of government and guarantees certain fundamental rights. Under its terms the Emperor of Japan is "the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people" and exercises a purely ceremonial role without the possession of sovereignty. Thus, unlike other monarchs, he is not formally the head of state although he is portrayed and treated as though he were. The constitution, also called "the Pacifist Constitution," is most characteristic and famous for the renunciation of the right to wage war contained in Article 9 and to a lesser extent, the provision for de jure popular sovereignty in conjunction with the monarchy.
Excerpted from Constitution of Japan on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Related documents: Seventeen-article constitution; Constitution of the Empire of Japan

Promulgated: November 3, 1946.
Effected: May 3, 1947.

Contents

Edict

I rejoice that the foundation for the construction of a new Japan has been laid according to the will of the Japanese people, and hereby sanction and promulgate the amendments of the Imperial Japanese Constitution effected following the consultation with the Privy Council and the decision of the Imperial Diet made in accordance with Article 73 of the said Constitution.

Signed : HIROHITO, Seal of the Emperor
This third day of the eleventh month of the twenty-first year of Showa
(November 3, 1946)
Countersigned :
Prime Minister and concurrently
Minister for Foreign Affairs - YOSHIDA Shigeru
Minister of State - Baron SHIDEHARA Kijuro
Minister of Justice - KIMURA Tokutaro
Minister for Home Affairs - OMURA Seiichi
Minister of Education - TANAKA Kotaro
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry - WADA Hiroo
Minister of State - SAITO Takao
Minister of Communications - HITOTSUMATSU Sadayoshi
Minister of Commerce and Industry - HOSHIJIMA Niro
Minister of Welfare - KAWAI Yoshinari
Minister of State - UEHARA Etsujiro
Minister of Transportation - HIRATSUKA Tsunejiro
Minister of Finance - ISHIBASHI Tanzan
Minister of State - KANAMORI Tokujiro
Minister of State - ZEN Keinosuke

The Constitution of Japan

We, the Japanese people, acting through our duly elected representatives in the National Diet, determined that we shall secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty throughout this land, and resolved that never again shall we be visited with the horrors of war through the action of government, do proclaim that sovereign power resides with the people and do firmly establish this Constitution. Government is a sacred trust of the people, the authority for which is derived from the people, the powers of which are exercised by the representatives of the people, and the benefits of which are enjoyed by the people. This is a universal principle of mankind upon which this Constitution is founded. We reject and revoke all constitutions, laws, ordinances, and rescripts in conflict herewith.

We, the Japanese people, desire peace for all time and are deeply conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship, and we have determined to preserve our security and existence, trusting in the justice and faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society striving for the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance for all time from the earth. We recognize that all peoples of the world have the right to live in the peace, free from fear and want.

We believe that no nation is responsible to itself alone, but that laws of political morality are universal; and that obedience to such laws is incumbent upon all nations who would sustain their own sovereignty and justify their sovereign relationship with other nations.

We, the Japanese people, pledge our national honor to accomplish these high ideals and purposes with all our resources.

CHAPTER I. THE EMPEROR

Article 1
The Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and of the unity of the people, deriving his position from the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.
Article 2
The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and succeeded to in accordance with the Imperial House Law passed by the Diet.
Article 3
The advice and approval of the Cabinet shall be required for all acts of the Emperor in matters of state, and the Cabinet shall be responsible therefore.
Article 4
  1. The Emperor shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in the Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government.
  2. The Emperor may delegate the performance of his acts in matters of state as may be provided by law.
Article 5
When, in accordance with the Imperial House Law, a Regency is established, the Regent shall perform his acts in matters of state in the Emperor's name. In this case, paragraph one of the preceding article will be applicable.
Article 6
  1. The Emperor shall appoint the Prime Minister as designated by the Diet.
  2. The Emperor shall appoint the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court as designated by the Cabinet.
Article 7
The Emperor, with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, shall perform the following acts in matters of state on behalf of the people:
  1. Promulgation of amendments of the constitution, laws, cabinet orders and treaties.
  2. Convocation of the Diet.
  3. Dissolution of the House of Representatives.
  4. Proclamation of general election of members of the Diet.
  5. Attestation of the appointment and dismissal of Ministers of State and other officials as provided for by law, and of full powers and credentials of Ambassadors and Ministers.
  6. Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
  7. Awarding of honors.
  8. Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents as provided for by law.
  9. Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers.
  10. Performance of ceremonial functions.
Article 8
No property can be given to, or received by, the Imperial House, nor can any gifts be made therefrom, without the authorization of the Diet.

CHAPTER II. RENUNCIATION OF WAR

Article 9
  1. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
  2. In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.

CHAPTER III. RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE PEOPLE

Article 10
The conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law.
Article 11
The people shall not be prevented from enjoying any of the fundamental human rights. These fundamental human rights guaranteed to the people by this Constitution shall be conferred upon the people of this and future generations as eternal and inviolate rights.
Article 12
The freedoms and rights guaranteed to the people by this Constitution shall be maintained by the constant endeavor of the people, who shall refrain from any abuse of these freedoms and rights and shall always be responsible for utilizing them for the public welfare.
Article 13
All of the people shall be respected as individuals. Their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme consideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs.
Article 14
  1. All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race, creed, sex, social status or family origin.
  2. Peers and peerage shall not be recognized.
  3. No privilege shall accompany any award of honor, decoration or any distinction, nor shall any such award be valid beyond the lifetime of the individual who now holds or hereafter may receive it.
Article 15
  1. The people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them.
  2. All public officials are servants of the whole community and not of any group thereof.
  3. Universal adult suffrage is guaranteed with regard to the election of public officials.
  4. In all elections, secrecy of the ballot shall not be violated. A voter shall not be answerable, publicly or privately, for the choice he has made.
Article 16
Every person shall have the right of peaceful petition for the redress of damage, for the removal of public officials, for the enactment, repeal or amendment of laws, ordinances or regulations and for other matters; nor shall any person be in any way discriminated against for sponsoring such a petition.
Article 17
Every person may sue for redress as provided by law from the State or a public entity, in case he has suffered damage through illegal act of any public official.
Article 18
No person shall be held in bondage of any kind. Involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime, is prohibited.
Article 19
Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.
Article 20
  1. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority.
  2. No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice.
  3. The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.
Article 21
  1. Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.
  2. No censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated.
Article 22
  1. Every person shall have freedom to choose and change his residence and to choose his occupation to the extent that it does not interfere with the public welfare.
  2. Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality shall be inviolate.
Article 23
Academic freedom is guaranteed.
Article 24
  1. Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal rights of husband and wife as a basis.
  2. With regard to choice of spouse, property rights, inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and other matters pertaining to marriage and the family, laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.
Article 25
  1. All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.
  2. In all spheres of life, the State shall use its endeavors for the promotion and extension of social welfare and security, and of public health.
Article 26
  1. All people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided by law.
  2. All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law. Such compulsory education shall be free.
Article 27
  1. All people shall have the right and the obligation to work.
  2. Standards for wages, hours, rest and other working conditions shall be fixed by law.
  3. Children shall not be exploited.
Article 28
The right of workers to organize and to bargain and act collectively is guaranteed.
Article 29
  1. The right to own or to hold property is inviolable. Property rights shall be defined by law, in conformity with the public welfare.
  2. Private property may be taken for public use upon just compensation therefor.
Article 30
The people shall be liable to taxation as provided by law.
Article 31
No person shall be deprived of life or liberty, nor shall any other criminal penalty be imposed, except according to procedure established by law.
Article 32
No person shall be denied the right of access to the courts.
Article 33
No person shall be apprehended except upon warrant issued by a competent judicial officer which specifies the offense with which the person is charged, unless he is apprehended, the offense being committed.
Article 34
No person shall be arrested or detained without being at once informed of the charges against him or without the immediate privilege of counsel; nor shall he be detained without adequate cause; and upon demand of any person such cause must be immediately shown in open court in his presence and the presence of his counsel.
Article 35
  1. The right of all persons to be secure in their homes, papers and effects against entries, searches and seizures shall not be impaired except upon warrant issued for adequate cause and particularly describing the place to be searched and things to be seized, or except as provided by Article 33.
  2. Each search or seizure shall be made upon separate warrant issued by a competent judical officer.
Article 36
The infliction of torture by any public officer and cruel punishments are absolutely forbidden.
Article 37
  1. In all criminal cases the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial tribunal.
  2. He shall be permitted full opportunity to examine all witnesses, and he shall have the right of compulsory process for obtaining witnesses on his behalf at public expense.
  3. At all times the accused shall have the assistance of competent counsel who shall, if the accused is unable to secure the same by his own efforts, be assigned to his use by the State.
Article 38
  1. No person shall be compelled to testify against himself.
  2. Confession made under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged arrest or detention shall not be admitted in evidence.
  3. No person shall be convicted or punished in cases where the only proof against him is his own confession.
Article 39
No person shall be held criminally liable for an act which was lawful at the time it was committed, or of which he has been acquitted, nor shall he be placed in double jeopardy.
Article 40
Any person, in case he is acquitted after he has been arrested or detained, may sue the State for redress as provided by law.

CHAPTER IV. THE DIET

Article 41
The Diet shall be the highest organ of state power, and shall be the sole law-making organ of the State.
Article 42
The Diet shall consist of two Houses, namely the House of Representatives and the House of Councilors.
Article 43
  1. Both Houses shall consist of elected members, representative of all the people.
  2. The number of the members of each House shall be fixed by law.
Article 44
The qualifications of members of both Houses and their electors shall be fixed by law. However, there shall be no discrimination because of race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property or income.
Article 45
The term of office of members of the House of Representatives shall be four years. However, the term shall be terminated before the full term is up in case the House of Representatives is dissolved.
Article 46
The term of office of members of the House of Councillors shall be six years, and election for half the members shall take place every three years.
Article 47
Electoral districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to the method of election of members of both Houses shall be fixed by law.
Article 48
No person shall be permitted to be a member of both Houses simultaneously.
Article 49
Members of both Houses shall receive appropriate annual payment from the national treasury in accordance with law.
Article 50
Except in cases provided by law, members of both Houses shall be exempt from apprehension while the Diet is in session, and any members apprehended before the opening of the session shall be freed during the term of the session upon demand of the House.
Article 51
Members of both Houses shall not be held liable outside the House for speeches, debates or votes cast inside the House.
Article 52
An ordinary session of the Diet shall be convoked once per year.
Article 53
The Cabinet may determine to convoke extraordinary sessions of the Diet. When a quarter or more of the total members of either House makes the demand, the Cabinet must determine on such convocation.
Article 54
  1. When the House of Representatives is dissolved, there must be a general election of members of the House of Representatives within forty (40) days from the date of dissolution, and the Diet must be convoked within thirty (30) days from the date of the election.
  2. When the House of Representatives is dissolved, the House of Councillors is closed at the same time. However, the Cabinet may in time of national emergency convoke the House of Councillors in emergency session.
  3. Measures taken at such session as mentioned in the proviso of the preceding paragraph shall be provisional and shall become null and void unless agreed to by the House of Representatives within a period of ten (10) days after the opening of the next session of the Diet.
Article 55
Each House shall judge disputes related to qualifications of its members. However, in order to deny a seat to any member, it is necessary to pass a resolution by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.
Article 56
  1. Business cannot be transacted in either House unless one-third or more of total membership is present.
  2. All matters shall be decided, in each House, by a majority of those present, except as elsewhere provided in the Constitution, and in case of a tie, the presiding officer shall decide the issue.
Article 57
  1. Deliberation in each House shall be public. However, a secret meeting may be held where a majority of two-thirds or more of those members present passes a resolution therefor.
  2. Each House shall keep a record of proceedings. This record shall be published and given general circulation, excepting such parts of proceedings of secret session as may be deemed to require secrecy.
  3. Upon demand of one-fifth or more of the members present, votes of the members on any matter shall be recorded in the minutes.
Article 58
  1. Each House shall select its own president and other officials.
  2. Each House shall establish its rules pertaining to meetings, proceedings and internal discipline, and may punish members for disorderly conduct. However, in order to expel a member, a majority of two-thirds or more of those members present must pass a resolution thereon.
Article 59
  1. A bill becomes a law on passage by both Houses, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution.
  2. A bill which is passed by the House of Representatives, and upon which the House of Councillors makes a decision different from that of the House of Representatives, becomes a law when passed a second time by the House of Representatives by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.
  3. The provision of the preceding paragraph does not preclude the House of Representatives from calling for the meeting of a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law.
  4. Failure by the House of Councillors to take final action within sixty (60) days after receipt of a bill passed by the House of Representatives, time in recess excepted, may be determined by the House of Representatives to constitute a rejection of the said bill by the House of Councillors.
Article 60
  1. The budget must first be submitted to the House of Representatives.
  2. Upon consideration of the budget, when the House of Councillors makes a decision different from that of the House of Representatives, and when no agreement can be reached even through a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law, or in the case of failure by the House of Councillors to take final action within thirty (30) days, the period of recess excluded, after the receipt of the budget passed by the House of Representatives, the decision of the House of Representatives shall be the decision of the Diet.
Article 61
The second paragraph of the preceding article applies also to the Diet approval required for the conclusion of treaties.
Article 62
Each House may conduct investigations in relation to government, and may demand the presence and testimony of witnesses, and the production of records.
Article 63
The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State may, at any time, appear in either House for the purpose of speaking on bills, regardless of whether they are members of the House or not. They must appear when their presence is required in order to give answers or explanations.
Article 64
  1. The Diet shall set up an impeachment court from among the members of both Houses for the purpose of trying those judges against whom removal proceedings have been instituted.
  2. Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided by law.

CHAPTER V. THE CABINET

Article 65
Executive power shall be vested in the Cabinet.
Article 66
  1. The Cabinet shall consist of the Prime Minister, who shall be its head, and other Ministers of State, as provided for by law.
  2. The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State must be civilians.
  3. The Cabinet, in the exercise of executive power, shall be collectively responsible to the Diet.
Article 67
  1. The Prime Minister shall be designated from among the members of the Diet by a resolution of the Diet. This designation shall precede all other business.
  2. If the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors disagree and if no agreement can be reached even through a joint committee of both Houses, provided for by law, or the House of Councillors fails to make designation within ten (10) days, exclusive of the period of recess, after the House of Representatives has made designation, the decision of the House of Representatives shall be the decision of the Diet.
Article 68
  1. The Prime Minister shall appoint the Ministers of State.
  2. However, a majority of their number must be chosen from among the members of the Diet.
  3. The Prime Minister may remove the Ministers of State as he chooses.
Article 69
If the House of Representatives passes a non-confidence resolution, or rejects a confidence resolution, the Cabinet shall resign en masse, unless the House of Representatives is dissolved within ten (10) days.
Article 70
When there is a vacancy in the post of Prime Minister, or upon the first convocation of the Diet after a general election of members of the House of Representatives, the Cabinet shall resign en masse.
Article 71
In the cases mentioned in the two preceding articles, the Cabinet shall continue its functions until the time when a new Prime Minister is appointed.
Article 72
The Prime Minister, representing the Cabinet, submits bills, reports on general national affairs and foreign relations to the Diet and exercises control and supervision over various administrative branches.
Article 73
The Cabinet, in addition to other general administrative functions, shall perform the following functions:
  1. Administer the law faithfully; conduct affairs of state.
  2. Manage foreign affairs.
  3. Conclude treaties. However, it shall obtain prior or, depending on circumstances, subsequent approval of the Diet.
  4. Administer the civil service, in accordance with standards established by law.
  5. Prepare the budget, and present it to the Diet.
  6. Enact cabinet orders in order to execute the provisions of this Constitution and of the law. However, it cannot include penal provisions in such cabinet orders unless authorized by such law.
  7. Decide on general amnesty, special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
Article 74
All laws and cabinet orders shall be signed by the competent Minister of State and countersigned by the Prime Minister.
Article 75
The Ministers of State, during their tenure of office, shall not be subject to legal action without the consent of the Prime Minister. However, the right to take that action is not impaired hereby.

CHAPTER VI. JUDICIARY

Article 76
  1. The whole judical power is vested in a Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as are established by law.
  2. No extraordinary tribunal shall be established, nor shall any organ or agency of the Executive be given final judicial power.
  3. All judges shall be independent in the exercise of their conscience and shall be bound only by this Constitution and the laws.
Article 77
  1. The Supreme Court is vested with the rule-making power under which it determines the rules of procedure and of practice, and of matters relating to attorneys, the internal discipline of the courts and the administration of judicial affairs.
  2. Public procurators shall be subject to the rule-making power of the Supreme Court.
  3. The Supreme Court may delegate the power to make rules for inferior courts to such courts.
Article 78
Judges shall not be removed except by public impeachment unless judicially declared mentally or physically incompetent to perform official duties.   No disciplinary action against judges shall be administered by any executive organ or agency.
Article 79
  1. The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Judge and such number of judges as may be determined by law; all such judges excepting the Chief Judge shall be appointed by the Cabinet.
  2. The appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court shall be reviewed by the people at the first general election of members of the House of Representatives following their appointment, and shall be reviewed again at the first general election of members of the House of Representatives after a lapse of ten (10) years, and in the same manner thereafter.
  3. In cases mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, when the majority of the voters favors the dismissal of a judge, he shall be dismissed.
  4. Matters pertaining to review shall be prescribed by law.
  5. The judges of the Supreme Court shall be retired upon the attainment of the age as fixed by law.
  6. All such judges shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.
Article 80
  1. The judges of the inferior courts shall be appointed by the Cabinet from a list of persons nominated by the Supreme Court. All such judges shall hold office for a term of ten (10) years with privilege of reappointment, provided that they shall be retired upon the attainment of the age as fixed by law.
  2. The judges of the inferior courts shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.
Article 81
The Supreme Court is the court of last resort with power to determine the constitutionality of any law, order, regulation or official act.
Article 82
  1. Trials shall be conducted and judgment declared publicly.
  2. Where a court unanimously determines publicity to be dangerous to public order or morals, a trial may be conducted privately, but trials of political offenses, offenses involving the press or cases wherein the rights of people as guaranteed in Chapter III of this Constitution are in question shall always be conducted publicly.

CHAPTER VII. FINANCE

Article 83
The power to administer national finances shall be exercised as the Diet shall determine.
Article 84
No new taxes shall be imposed or existing ones modified except by law or under such conditions as law may prescibe.
Article 85
No money shall be expended, nor shall the State obligate itself, except as authorized by the Diet.
Article 86
The Cabinet shall prepare and submit to the Diet for its consideration and decision a budget for each fiscal year.
Article 87
In order to provide for unforeseen deficiencies in the budget, a reserve fund may be authorized by the Diet to be expended upon the responsibility of the Cabinet.
The Cabinet must get subsequent approval of the Diet for all payments from the reserve fund.
Article 88
All property of the Imperial Household shall belong to the State. All expenses of the Imperial Household shall be appropriated by the Diet in the budget.
Article 89
No public money or other property shall be expended or appropriated for the use, benefit or maintenance of any religious institution or association, or for any charitable, educational or benevolent enterprises not under the control of public authority.
Article 90
  1. Final accounts of the expenditures and revenues of the State shall be audited annually by a Board of Audit and submitted by the Cabinet to the Diet, together with the statement of audit, during the fiscal year immediately following the period covered.
  2. The organization and competency of the Board of Audit shall be determined by law.
Article 91
At regular intervals and at least annually the Cabinet shall report to the Diet and the people on the state of national finances.

CHAPTER VIII. LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT

Article 92
Regulations concerning organization and operations of local public entities shall be fixed by law in accordance with the principle of local autonomy.
Article 93
  1. The local public entities shall establish assemblies as their deliberative organs, in accordance with law.
  2. The chief executive officers of all local public entities, the members of their assemblies, and such other local officials as may be determined by law shall be elected by direct popular vote within their several communities.
Article 94
Local public entities shall have the right to manage their property, affairs and administration and to enact their own regulations within law.
Article 95
A special law, applicable only to one local public entity, cannot be enacted by the Diet without the consent of the majority of the voters of the local public entity concerned, obtained in accordance with law.

CHAPTER IX. AMENDMENTS

Article 96
  1. Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each House and shall thereupon be submitted to the people for ratification, which shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a special referendum or at such election as the Diet shall specify.
  2. Amendments when so ratified shall immediately be promulgated by the Emperor in the name of the people, as an integral part of this Constitution.

CHAPTER X. SUPREME LAW

Article 97
The fundamental human rights by this Constitution guaranteed to the people of Japan are fruits of the age-old struggle of man to be free; they have survived the many exacting tests for durability and are conferred upon this and future generations in trust, to be held for all time inviolate.
Article 98
  1. This Constitution shall be the supreme law of the nation and no law, ordinance, imperial rescript or their act of government, or part thereof, contrary to the provisions hereof, shall have legal force or validity.
  2. The treaties concluded by Japan and established laws of nations shall be faithfully observed.
Article 99
The Emperor or the Regent as well as Ministers of State, members of the Diet, judges, and all other public officials have the obligation to respect and uphold this Constitution.

CHAPTER XI. SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS

Article 100
  1. This Constitution shall be enforced as from the day when the period of six months will have elapsed counting from the day of its promulgation.
  2. The enactment of laws necessary for the enforcement of this Constitution, the election of members of the House of Councillors and the procedure for the convocation of the Diet and other preparatory procedures necessary for the enforcement of this Constitution may be executed before the day prescribed in the preceding paragraph.
Article 101
If the House of Councillors is not constituted before the effective date of this Constitution, the House of Representatives shall function as the Diet until such time as the House of Councillors shall be constituted.
Article 102
The term of office for half the members of the House of Councillors serving in the first term under this Constitution shall be three years. Members falling under this category shall be determined in accordance with law.
Article 103
The Ministers of State, members of the House of Representatives and judges in office on the effective date of this Constitution, and all other public officials who occupy positions corresponding to such positions as are recognized by this Constitution shall not forfeit their positions automatically on account of the enforcement of this Constitution unless otherwise specified by law. When, however, successors are elected or appointed under the provisions of this Constitution, they shall forfeit their positions as a matter of course.

Former Constitution of Japan

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