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Constitution of Japan (1946)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

2


3Preamble

4We, 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.

5We, 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 peace, free from fear and want.

6We 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.

7We, the Japanese people, pledge our national honor to accomplish these high ideals and purposes with all our resources.

8Chapter I. The Emperor

9Article 1

10The 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.

11Article 2

12The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and succeeded to in accordance with the Imperial House Law passed by the Diet.

13Article 3

14The 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 therefor.

15Article 4

16The Emperor shall perform only such acts in matters of state as are provided for in this Constitution and he shall not have powers related to government.

17The Emperor may delegate the performance of his acts in matters of state as may be provided by law.

18Article 5

19When, 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.

20Article 6

21The Emperor shall appoint the Prime Minister as designated by the Diet. The Emperor shall appoint the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court as designated by the Cabinet.

22Article 7

23The Emperor, with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, shall perform the following acts in matters of state on behalf of the people:

24 Promulgation of amendments of the constitution, laws, cabinet orders and treaties.

25 Convocation of the Diet.

26 Dissolution of the House of Representatives.

27 Proclamation of general election of members of the Diet.

28 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.

29 Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.

30 Awarding of honors.

31 Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents as provided for by law.

32 Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers.

33 Performance of ceremonial functions.

34Article 8

35No property can be given to, or received by, the Imperial House, nor can any gifts be made therefrom, without the authorization of the Diet.

36Chapter II. Renunciation of War

37Article 9

38Aspiring 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.

39In 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.

40Chapter III. Rights and Duties of the People

41Article 10

42The conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law.

43Article 11

44The 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.

45Article 12

46The 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.

47Article 13

48All 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.

49Article 14

50All 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.

51Peers and peerage shall not be recognized.

52No 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.

53Article 15

54The people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them.

55All public officials are servants of the whole community and not of any group thereof.

56Universal adult suffrage is guaranteed with regard to the election of public officials.

57In 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.

58Article 16

59Every 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.

60Article 17

61Every 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.

62Article 18

63No person shall be held in bondage of any kind. Involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime, is prohibited.

64Article 19

65Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.

66Article 20

67Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority.

68No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice.

69The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.

70Article 21

71Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.

72No censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated.

73Article 22

74Every 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.

75Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality shall be inviolate.

76Article 23

77Academic freedom is guaranteed.

78Article 24

79Marriage 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.

80With 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.

81Article 25

82All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living.

83In all spheres of life, the State shall use its endeavors for the promotion and extension of social welfare and security, and of public health.

84Article 26

85All people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided by law.

86All 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.

87Article 27

88All people shall have the right and the obligation to work.

89Standards for wages, hours, rest and other working conditions shall be fixed by law.

90Children shall not be exploited.

91Article 28

92The right of workers to organize and to bargain and act collectively is guaranteed.

93Article 29

94The right to own or to hold property is inviolable.

95Property rights shall be defined by law, in conformity with the public welfare.

96Private property may be taken for public use upon just compensation therefor.

97Article 30

98The people shall be liable to taxation as provided by law.

99Article 31

100No person shall be deprived of life or liberty, nor shall any other criminal penalty be imposed, except according to procedure established by law.

101Article 32

102No person shall be denied the right of access to the courts.

103Article 33

104No 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.

105Article 34

106No 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.

107Article 35

108The 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.

109Each search or seizure shall be made upon separate warrant issued by a competent judicial officer.

110Article 36

111The infliction of torture by any public officer and cruel punishments are absolutely forbidden.

112Article 37

113In all criminal cases the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial tribunal.

114He 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.

115At 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.

116Article 38

117No person shall be compelled to testify against himself.

118Confession made under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged arrest or detention shall not be admitted in evidence.

119No person shall be convicted or punished in cases where the only proof against him is his own confession.

120Article 39

121No 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.

122Article 40

123Any person, in case he is acquitted after he has been arrested or detained, may sue the State for redress as provided by law.

124Chapter IV. The Diet

125Article 41

126The Diet shall be the highest organ of state power, and shall be the sole law-making organ of the State.

127Article 42

128The Diet shall consist of two Houses, namely the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors.

129Article 43

130Both Houses shall consist of elected members, representative of all the people.

131The number of the members of each House shall be fixed by law.

132Article 44

133The 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.

134Article 45

135The 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.

136Article 46

137The 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.

138Article 47

139Electoral districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to the method of election of members of both Houses shall be fixed by law.

140Article 48

141No person shall be permitted to be a member of both Houses simultaneously.

142Article 49

143Members of both Houses shall receive appropriate annual payment from the national treasury in accordance with law.

144Article 50

145Except 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.

146Article 51

147Members of both Houses shall not be held liable outside the House for speeches, debates or votes cast inside the House.

148Article 52

149An ordinary session of the Diet shall be convoked once per year.

150Article 53

151The 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.

152Article 54

153When 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.

154When 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.

155Measures 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.

156Article 55

157Each 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.

158Article 56

159Business cannot be transacted in either House unless one-third or more of total membership is present.

160All 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.

161Article 57

162Deliberation 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.

163Each 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.

164Upon demand of one-fifth or more of the members present, votes of the members on any matter shall be recorded in the minutes.

165Article 58

166Each House shall select its own president and other officials.

167Each 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.

168Article 59

169A bill becomes a law on passage by both Houses, except as otherwise provided by the Constitution.

170A 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.

171The 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.

172Failure 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.

173Article 60

174The budget must first be submitted to the House of Representatives.

175Upon 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.

176Article 61

177The second paragraph of the preceding article applies also to the Diet approval required for the conclusion of treaties.

178Article 62

179Each House may conduct investigations in relation to government, and may demand the presence and testimony of witnesses, and the production of records.

180Article 63

181The 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.

182Article 64

183The 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.

184Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided by law.

185Chapter V. The Cabinet

186Article 65

187Executive power shall be vested in the Cabinet.

188Article 66

189The Cabinet shall consist of the Prime Minister, who shall be its head, and other Ministers of State, as provided for by law.

190The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State must be civilians.

191The Cabinet, in the exercise of executive power, shall be collectively responsible to the Diet.

192Article 67

193The 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.

194If 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.

195Article 68

196The Prime Minister shall appoint the Ministers of State. However, a majority of their number must be chosen from among the members of the Diet.

197The Prime Minister may remove the Ministers of State as he chooses.

198Article 69

199If 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.

200Article 70

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