The Constitution of Japan was established through the confluence of efforts from both outside and inside Japan.

The external forces to reform the Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Meiji Constitution of 1889) manifested themselves in measures taken under the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) in Japan, which were necessary to implement the "Potsdam Declaration" as accepted by Japan upon its defeat. The internal forces sprang from the people's desire to realize a true democracy, which would have been impossible by merely restoring the prewar parliamentary system after the cessation of hostilities because the military control of the government during the war had seriously corrupted the framework of the Meiji Constitution.

Progress on the enactment of the Constitution came to a major juncture on February 13, 1946, clearly dividing it into two major phases. The first phase started in October 1945, when the Japanese government started a study to review the Meiji Constitution following the suggestion by SCAP for "liberalization of the Constitution," and lasted until February 1946, when the government submitted its reform proposal (Gist of the Revision of the Constitution) to GHQ (General Headquarters, Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers). The latter phase was marked by GHQ turning the tables on February 13 when GHQ rejected the revisions put forward by the Japanese government, and instead handed its own draft proposal prepared as a model (the GHQ Draft). The event set a course toward the enactment and promulgation of the new Constitution.

Thus a complex interaction of diverse political, social, and other forces was working both domestically and abroad throughout these two major phases of the reformation of the Meiji Constitution, and led to the creation of the Constitution of Japan.

Copyright©2003-2004 National Diet Library All Rights Reserved.