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Constitution of Japan
November 3, 1946
Came into effect on May 3, 1947
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 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.
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 therefor.
Article 4. The 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.
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. The 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.
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:
of amendments of the constitution, laws, cabinet orders and treaties.
Convocation of the Diet.
Dissolution of the House of Representatives.
Proclamation of general election of members of the Diet.
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.
Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
Awarding of honors.
Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents as provided for by law.
Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers.
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.
Article 9. 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.
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.
AND DUTIES OF THE PEOPLE
Article 10. The conditions
necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law.
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.
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.
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.
14. 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.
Peers and peerage shall not be recognized.
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. The people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them.
All public officials are servants of the whole community and not of any group thereof.
Universal adult suffrage is guaranteed with regard to the election of public officials.
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.
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.
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
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.
of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any
privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority.
No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act, celebration, rite or practice.
The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.
of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of
expression are guaranteed.
No censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated.
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.
Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality shall be inviolate.
freedom is guaranteed.
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.
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.
people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and
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.
people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to
their ability, as provided by law.
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.
people shall have the right and the obligation to work.
Standards for wages, hours, rest and other working conditions shall be fixed by law.
Children shall not be exploited.
right of workers to organize and to bargain and act collectively is guaranteed.
right to own or to hold property is inviolable.
Property rights shall be defined by law, in conformity with the public welfare.
Private property may be taken for public use upon just compensation therefor.
people shall be liable to taxation as provided by law.
person shall be deprived of life or liberty, nor shall any other criminal
penalty be imposed, except according to procedure established by law.
person shall be denied the right of access to the courts.
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.
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
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.
Each search or seizure shall be made upon separate warrant issued by a competent judicial officer.
infliction of torture by any public officer and cruel punishments are
37. In all
criminal cases the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial
by an impartial tribunal.
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.
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.
38. No person shall be
compelled to testify against himself.
Confession made under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged arrest or detention shall not be admitted in evidence.
No person shall be convicted or punished in cases where the only proof against him is his own confession.
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
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.
Article 41. The Diet shall be
the highest organ of state power, and shall be the sole law-making organ of the
42. The Diet
shall consist of two Houses, namely the House of Representatives and the House
Houses shall consist of elected members, representative of all the people.
The number of the members of each House shall be fixed by law.
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.
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.
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.
districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to the method of
election of members of both Houses shall be fixed by law.
person shall be permitted to be a member of both Houses simultaneously.
of both Houses shall receive appropriate annual payment from the national
treasury in accordance with law.
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.
of both Houses shall not be held liable outside the House for speeches, debates
or votes cast inside the House.
ordinary session of the Diet shall be convoked once per year.
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.
54. 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.
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.
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.
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.
cannot be transacted in either House unless one-third or more of total
membership is present.
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.
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
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.
Upon demand of one-fifth or more of the members present, votes of the members on any matter shall be recorded in the minutes.
House shall select its own president and other officials.
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.
59. A bill
becomes a law on passage by both Houses, except as otherwise provided by the
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.
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.
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.
budget must first be submitted to the House of Representatives.
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.
61. The second
paragraph of the preceding article applies also to the Diet approval required
for the conclusion of treaties.
62. Each House
may conduct investigations in relation to government, and may demand the
presence and testimony of witnesses, and the production of records.
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. 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.
Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided by law.
Article 65. Executive power
shall be vested in the Cabinet.
Cabinet shall consist of the Prime Minister, who shall be its head, and other
Ministers of State, as provided for by law.
The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State must be civilians.
The Cabinet, in the exercise of executive power, shall be collectively responsible to the Diet.
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.
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.
Prime Minister shall appoint the Ministers of State. However, a majority of
their number must be chosen from among the members of the Diet.
The Prime Minister may remove the Ministers of State as he chooses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cabinet, in addition to other general administrative functions, shall perform
the following functions:
Administer the law faithfully; conduct affairs of state.
Manage foreign affairs.
Conclude treaties. However, it shall obtain prior or, depending on circumstances, subsequent approval of the Diet.
Administer the civil service, in accordance with standards established by law.
Prepare the budget, and present it to the Diet.
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.
Decide on general amnesty, special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
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.
Article 76. The whole judicial
power is vested in a Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as are
established by law.
No extraordinary tribunal shall be established, nor shall any organ or agency of the Executive be given final judicial power.
All judges shall be independent in the exercise of their conscience and shall be bound only by this Constitution and the laws.
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
Public procurators shall be subject to the rule-making power of the Supreme Court.
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.
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.
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.
In cases mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, when the majority of the voters favors the dismissal of a judge, he shall be dismissed.
Matters pertaining to review shall be prescribed by law.
The judges of the Supreme Court shall be retired upon the attainment of the age as fixed by law.
All such judges shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.
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.
The judges of the inferior courts shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.
Supreme Court is the court of last resort with power to determine the
constitutionality of any law, order, regulation or official act.
Article 82. Trials shall be
conducted and judgment declared publicly.
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.
Article 83. The power to
administer national finances shall be exercised as the Diet shall determine.
84. No new
taxes shall be imposed or existing ones modified except by law or under such
conditions as law may prescribe.
85. No money
shall be expended, nor shall the State obligate itself, except as authorized by
Cabinet shall prepare and submit to the Diet for its consideration and decision
a budget for each fiscal year.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Article 92. Regulations
concerning organization and operations of local public entities shall be fixed
by law in accordance with the principle of local autonomy.
local public entities shall establish assemblies as their deliberative organs,
in accordance with law.
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.
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.
Article 96. 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.
Amendments when so ratified shall immediately be promulgated by the Emperor in the name of the people, as an integral part of this Constitution.
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. This Constitution
shall be the supreme law of the nation and no law, ordinance, imperial rescript
or other act of government, or part thereof, contrary to the provisions hereof,
shall have legal force or validity.
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.
Article 100. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.