3rd Nov. 1946



We, the Japanese people, acting through our elected representatives in the National Diet, determined that we should secure for ourselves and our posterity the fruits of peaceful cooperation with all nations and the blessings of liberty all over 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.




Chapter I

The Emperor

Article 1 [Symbol of State]

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 [Dynastic Throne]

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


Article 3 [Cabinet Approval and Responsibility]

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 [Rule of Law for Emperor]

(1)   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 by law.


Article 5 [Regency]

(1)   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.

(2)   In this case, Article 4 (1) will be applicable.


Article 6 [Appointments]

(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 [Functions]

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 [Property Authorization]

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 aggression of the state will not be recognized.




Chapter III

Rights and Duties of the People


Article 10 [Citizenship]

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


Article 11 [Fundamental Human Rights]

(1) The people shall not be prevented from enjoying any of the fundamental human rights.

(2) These fundamental human rights, guaranteed to the people by this Constitution, shall be conferred upon the people of this and future generations as irrevocable and inviolable rights.


Article 12 [Goal to Preserve Freedom and Rights]

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 [Individual Rights]

(1) All of the people shall be respected as individuals.

(2) Their right to live, 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 [No Discrimination and Privileges]

(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 [Electoral Rights]

(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.

(5) A voter shall not be answerable, publicly or privately, for the choice he has made.


Article 16 [Right to Petition]

Every person shall have the right to peacefully 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 [Recourse to the Courts]

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 [Personal Freedom]

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]

Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.


Article 20 [Freedom of Religion, Secularity of the State]

(1) Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all.

(2) No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority.

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

(4) The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.


Article 21 [Communicative Rights]

(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 [Right to Move, Freedom of Profession]

(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]

Academic freedom is guaranteed.


Article 24 [Matrimonial Equality]

(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 regards 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 [Welfare Rights]

(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 [Right to Education, Compulsory Education]

(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.

(3) Such compulsory education shall be free.


Article 27 [Right and Obligation to Work, No Child Labor]

(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 [Unions]

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


Article 29 [Property]

(1) 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 compensation therefor.


Article 30 [Taxation]

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


Article 31 [Due Process]

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 [Recourse to the Courts]

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


Article 33 [Arrest]

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 [Detention]

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 [Search, Seizure]

(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 judicial officer.


Article 36 [Torture]

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


Article 37 [Trial]

(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 expenses.

(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 [Rights of the Accused]

(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 [Nulla Poena Sine Lege, Double Jeopardy]

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 [False Imprisonment]

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 [Legislative Power]

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


Article 42 [Two Houses]

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


Article 43 [Membership]

(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 [Qualification]

(1) The qualifications of members of both Houses and their electors shall be fixed by law.

(2) However, there shall be no discrimination because of race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property, or income.


Article 45 [Term of Representatives]

(1) The term of office of members of the House of Representatives shall be four years.

(2) However, the term shall be terminated before the full term is up in case the House of Representatives is dissolved.


Article 46 [Term of Councilors]

The term of office of members of the House of Councilors shall be six years, and election for half the members shall take place every three years.


Article 47 [Electoral Procedure]

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 [Incompatibility]

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


Article 49 [Remuneration]

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


Article 50 [Immunity]

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 [Indemnity]

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


Article 52 [Ordinary Sessions]

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


Article 53 [Extraordinary Sessions]

(1) The Cabinet may determine to convoke extraordinary sessions of the Diet.

(2) When a quarter or more of the total members of either House makes the demand, the Cabinet must determine on such convocation.


Article 54 [Election of Representatives]

(1) When the House of Representatives is dissolved, there must be a general election of members of the House of Representatives within forty days from the date of dissolution, and the Diet must be convoked within thirty days from the date of the election.

(2) When the House of Representatives is dissolved, the House of Councilors is closed at the same time.

(3) However, the Cabinet may in time of national emergency convoke the House of Councilors in emergency session.

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