THE CONSTITUTION OF JAPAN
- CHAPTER I: THE EMPEROR
- CHAPTER II: RENUNCIATION OF WAR
- CHAPTER III: RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE PEOPLE
- CHAPTER IV: THE DIET
- CHAPTER V: THE CABINET
- CHAPTER VI: JUDICIARY
- CHAPTER VII: FINANCE
- CHAPTER VIII: LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT
- CHAPTER IX: AMENDMENTS
- CHAPTER X: SUPREME LAW
- CHAPTER XI: SUPPLEMENTARY PROVISIONS
THE CONSTITUTION OF JAPAN
November 3, 1946
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.
The Emperor shall be the symbol of
the State and the unity of the people, deriving his position from the
will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.
Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and succeeded to in accordance with
the Imperial House Law passed by the Diet.
The advice and
approval of the Emperor
in matters of state, and the Cabinet shall be responsible therefor.
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. 2) The Emperor may delegate the
performance of his acts in matters of state as may be provided for by
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.
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 Emperor shall, with the advice and
approval of the Cabinet, 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.
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.
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.
conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
No person shall be held in bondage of any kind.
Involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime, is prohibited.
Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.
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 acts, celebration, rite or practice. 3) The State and
its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other
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.
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
Academic freedom is guaranteed.
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.
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
All people shall have the right to receive an
equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided for 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.
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.
The right of workers
to organize and to bargain and act collectively is guaranteed.
The right to own or to hold property is inviolable. 2)
Property rights shall be defined by law, in conformity with the public
welfare. 3) Private property may be taken for public use upon just
The people shall be liable to
taxation as provided for by law.
No person shall be
deprived of life or liberty, nor shall any other criminal penalty be
imposed, except according to procedure established by law.
No person shall be denied the right of access to
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
No person shall be arrested or detained
without being at once infomed 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
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 judicial
The infliction of torture by any public officer
and cruel punishments are absolutely forbidden.
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.
No person shall be compelled to testify against
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.
No person shall be
held criminally liable for an act which was lawful at the time it was
committed, or of which he had been acquitted, nor shall he be placed
in double jeopardy.
Any person may, in case he is
acquitted after he has been arrested or detained, sue the State for
redress as provided for by law.
The Diet shall be the highest organ of the state power, and shall be
the sole law-making organ of the State.
The Diet shall
consist of two Houses, namely the House of Representatives and the
House of Councillors.
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.
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
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.
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.
Electoral districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to
the method of election of members of both Houses shall be fixed by
No person shall be permitted to be a member of both
Members of both Houses shall
receive appropriate annual payment from the national treasury in
accordance with law.
Except in cases as provided for 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.
Members of both Houses shall not be
held liable outside the House for speeches, debates or votes cast
inside the House.
An ordinary session of the Diet shall
be convoked once per year.
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.
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.
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.
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 for in the Constitution, and in
case of a tie, the presiding officer shall decide the issue.
Deliberation in each House shall be public. However,
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.
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.
becomes a law on passage by both Houses, except as otherwise provided
for 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.
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.
The second paragraph of the preceding
Article applies also the the
Diet approval required for the conclusion of treaties.
Each House may conduct investigations in relation to government, and
may demand the presence and testimony of witnesses, and the production
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.
The Diet shall set up an
impeachment court from among the members of both Houses for the
purposes of trying those judges against whom removal proceedings have
been instituted. 2) Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided
for by law.
Executive power shall be vested in the
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 shall, in the exercise of executive power,
be collectively responsible to the Diet.
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.
The Prime Minister shall appoint
the Ministers of State. However, a majority of their number must be
chosen from among the members of the Diet. 2) The Prime Minister may
remove the Ministers of State as he chooses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Cabinet shall,
in addition to other general administrative functions, 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
sudsequent 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 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
All laws and cabinet orders shall be signed by
the competent Minister of State and countersigned by the Prime
The Ministers of State shall not, during their
tenure of office, be subject to legal action without the consent of
the Prime Minister. However, the right to take that action is not
judicial 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
The Supreme Court
is the court of last resort with power to determine the
constitutionality of any law, order, regulation or official act.
Trials shall be conducted and judgement declared
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.
The power to administer national finances shall
be exercised as the Diet shall determine.
No new taxes
shall be imposed or existing ones modified except by law or under such
conditions as law may prescribe.
No money shall be
expended, nor shall the State obligate itself, except as authorized by
The Cabinet shall prepare and submit to the
Diet for its consideration and decision a budget for each fiscal year.
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 must get
subsequent approval of the Diet for all payments from the reserve
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.
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.
Final accounts of the
expenditures and revenues of the State shall be audited annually by a
Board of Audit and submitted by 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.
At regular intervals
and at least annually the Diet and the
people on the state of national finances.
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. 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.
public entities shall have the right to manage their property, affairs
and administration and to enact their own regulations within law.
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.
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.
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
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. 2) The treaties concluded by Japan and
established laws of nations shall be faithfully observed.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
THE CONSTITUTION OF JAPAN (November 3, 1946)
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.
HIROHITO, Seal of the Emperor,
This third day of the eleventh month of the twenty-first year
of Showa (November 3, 1946).
- 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 Communication
- HITOTSUMATSU Sadayoshi,
- Minister of Commerce and Industry
- HOSHIJIMA Jiro,
- 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.
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