Constitution of Japan

Memorandum to Chief, Government Section, dated 12 February 1946, signed by all but three of those participating in drafting of Constitution. Persons not signing, 1st Lt. Milton J. Esmon, Mr. Philip O. Keeney, and Miss Beate Sirota -- Inclosure, Mimeographed Copy No. 4 of draft presented to Japanese Government.
Note: Copies #1, 2, & 3 went to the Japanese, #4 went to General MacArthur, #5 went to General Whitney

Government Section
Public Administration Division

12 February 1946

MEMORANDUM FOR: Chief, Government Section.

Herewith is draft Constitution for Japanese prepared by the undersigned with your counsel and leadership.

Steering Committee
Chas L. Kades Col. Inf.
Alfred R. Hussey, Comdr. USNR
Milo E. Rowell LtCol.
Ruth A. Ellerman
  Civil Rights Committee
Pieter K. Roest, Lt. Col. T.C.
Harry Emerson Wildes
Legislative Committee
Frank E. Hays, Lt. Col.Cav.
Guy J. Swope, Comdr. USNR
Osborne Hauge, Lt (jg) USNR
Gertrude Norman
  Local Government Committee
Cecil G. Tilton, Major, Spec.
Roy L. Malcolm, Lt. Comdr. USNR
Executive Committee
Cyrus H. Peake
Jacob I. Miller
  Finance Committee
Frank Rizzo Capt. CMP
Judiciary Committee
Milo E. Rowell Lt. Col.
Alfred R. Hussey, Comdr USNR
Margaret Stone
  Emperor, Treaties and Enabling Committee
Richard A. Poole, Ens. USNR
George A. Nelson, Jr., 1st Lt

Co Kades *  
Co Swope Regislative incl. Cabinet
  Hays "         "         "
Co Hussey * Preamble
Co Rowell * New Provisions
Extra Const Bodies
  Roest Economic Bill of Rights
  Nelson Budget & Taxation
  Hussey Constitutional & 10 yr revision
  Tilton Subordinate Gov'ts
Civ Serv
  Esman Librarian - USSR et al.
  Peek Sovereignty Bill of Rights
  Malcolm Librarian
  Sirota Bill of Rights
  Rizzo Cabinet
  Poole Foreign Relations, Treaties
  Miller Budget & Taxation
  Wildes Drafting
  Stevens Justice
  Marsh Cabinet

This is the draft finally agreed on in Government Section and submitted to the Japanese Government on 13 February 1946. This copy is of the first numbered □□.
Alfred R. Hussey
Comdr. USNR


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 the sovereignty of the people's will and do ordain and establish this Constitution, founded upon the universal principle that government is a sacred trust 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; and we reject and revoke all constitutions, ordinances, laws and rescripts in conflict herewith.
Desiring peace for all time and fully conscious of the high ideals controlling human relationship now stirring mankind, we have determined to rely for our security and survival upon the justice and good faith of the peace-loving peoples of the world. We desire to occupy an honored place in an international society designed and dedicated to the preservation of peace, and the banishment of tyranny and slavery, oppression and intolerance, for all time from the earth. We recognize and acknowledge that all peoples have the right to live in peace, free from fear and want.
We hold that no people is responsible to itself alone, but that laws of political morality are universal; and that obedience to such laws is incumbent upon all peoples who would sustain their own sovereignty and justify their sovereign relationship with other peoples.
To these high principles and purposes we, the Japanese People, pledge our national honor, determined will and full resources.

The Emperor

Article I. The Emperor shall be the symbol of the State and of the Unity of the People, deriving his position from the sovereign will of the People, and from no other source.

Article II. Succession to the Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and in accordance with such Imperial House Law as the Diet may enact.

Article III. The advice and consent of the Cabinet shall be required for all acts of the Emperor in matters of state, and the Cabinet shall be responsible therefor.
The Emperor shall perform only such state functions as are provided for in this Constitution. He shall have no governmental powers, nor shall he assume nor be granted such powers.
The Emperor may delegate his functions in such manner as may be provided by law.

Article IV. When a regency is instituted in conformity with the provisions of such Imperial House Law as the Diet may enact, the duties of the Emperor shall be performed by the Regent in the name of the Emperor; and the limitations on the functions of the Emperor contained herein shall apply with equal force to the Regent.

Article V. The Emperor appoints as Prime Minister the person designated by the Diet.

Article VI. Acting only on the advice and with the consent of the Cabinet, the Emperor, on behalf of the people, shall perform the following state functions:
Affix his official seal to and proclaim all laws enacted by the Diet, all Cabinet orders, all amendments to this Constitution, and all treaties and international conventions;
Convoke sessions of the Diet;
Dissolve the Diet;
Proclaim general elections;
Attest the appointment or commission and resignation or dismissal of Ministers of State, ambassadors and those other state officials whose appointment or commission and resignation or dismissal may by law be attested in this manner;
Attest grants of amnesty, pardons, commutation of punishment, reprieves and rehabilitation;
Award honors;
Receive ambassadors and ministers of foreign States; and
Perform appropriate ceremonial functions.

Article VII. No grants of money or other property shall be made to the Imperial Throne, and no expenditures shall be made by the Imperial Throne, unless authorized by the Diet.

Renunciation of War

Article VIII. War as a sovereign right of nation is abolished. The threat or use of force is forever renounced as a means for settling disputes with any other nation.
No army, navy, air force, or other war potential will ever be authorized and no rights of belligerency will ever be conferred upon the State.

Rights and Duties of the People

Article IX. The people of Japan are entitled to the enjoyment without interference of all fundamental human rights.

Article X. The fundamental human rights by this Constitution guaranteed to the people of Japan result from the age-old struggle of man to be free. They have survived the exacting test for durability in the crucible of time and experience, and are conferred upon this and future generations in sacred trust, to be held for all time inviolate.

Article XI. The freedoms, rights and opportunities enunciated by this Constitution are maintained by the eternal vigilance of the people and involve an obligation on the part of the people to prevent their abuse and to employ them always for the common good.

Article XII. The feudal system of Japan shall cease. All Japanese by virtue of their humanity shall be respected as individuals. Their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness within the limits of the general welfare shall be the supreme consideration of all law and of all governmental action.

Article XIII. All natural persons are equal before the law. No discrimination shall be authorized or tolerated in political, economic or social relations on account of race, creed, sex, social status, caste or national origin.
No patent of nobility shall from this time forth embody within itself any national or civic power of government.
No rights of peerage except those of the Imperial dynasty shall extend beyond the lives of those now in being. No special privilege shall accompany any award of honor, decoration or other distinction; nor shall any such award be valid beyond the lifetime of the individual who now holds or hereafter may receive it.

Article XIV. The people are the ultimate arbiters of their government and of the Imperial Throne. They 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 special groups.
In all elections, secrecy of the ballot shall be kept inviolate, nor shall any voter be answerable, publicly or privately, for the choice he has made.

Article XV. Every person has the right of peaceful petition for the redress of grievances for the removal of public officials and for the enactment, repeal or amendment of laws, ordinances or regulations; nor shall any person be in any way discriminated against for sponsoring such a petition.

Article XVI. Aliens shall be entitled to the equal protection of law.

Article XVII. No person shall be held in enslavement, serfdom or bondage of any kind. Involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, is prohibited.

Article XVIII. Freedom of thought and conscience shall be held inviolable.

Arlicle XIX. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive special privileges from the State, nor exercise political authority.
No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious acts, celebrations, rites or practices.
The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.

Article XX. Freedom of assembly, speech and 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.

Article XXI. Freedom of association, movement and choice of abode are guaranteed to every person to the extent they do not conflict with the general welfare.
All persons shall be free to emigrate and to change their nationality.

Article XXII. Academic freedom and choice of occupation are guaranteed.

Article XXIII. The family is the basis of human society and its traditions for good or evil permeate the nation. Marriage shall rest upon the indisputable legal and social equality of both sexes, founded upon mutual consent instead of parental coercion, and maintained through cooperation instead of male domination. Laws contrary to these principles shall be abolished, and replaced by others viewing choice of spouse, property rights,inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and other matters pertaining to marriage and the family from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential equality of the sexes.

Article XXIV. In all spheres of life, laws shall be designed for the promotion and extension of social welfare, and of freedom, justice and democracy.
Free, universal and compulsory education shall be established.
The exploitation of children shall be prohibited.
The public health shall be promoted.
Social security shall be provided.
Standards for working conditions, wages and hours shall be fixed.

Article XXV. All men have the right to work.

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

Article XXVII. The right to own property is inviolable, but property rights shall be defined by law, in conformity with the public welfare.

Article XXVIII. The ultimate fee to the land and to all natural resources reposes in the State as the collective representative of the people. Land and other natural resources are subject to the right of the State to take them, upon just compensation therefor, for the purpose of securing and promoting the conservation, development, utilization and control thereof.

Article XXIX. 0wnership of property imposes obligations. Its use shall be in the public good. Private property may be taken by the State for public use upon just compensation therefor.

Article XXX. No person shall be apprehended except upon warrant issued by a competent officer of a court of law specifying the offense upon which the person is charged, unless he is apprehended while committing a crime.

Article XXXI. No person shall be arrested or detained without being at once informed of the charges against him nor without the immediate privilege of counsel; he shall not be held incommunicado; he shall not 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 XXXII. No person shall be deprived of life or liberty, nor shall any criminal penalty be imposed, except according to procedures established by the Diet, nor shall any person be denied the right of appeal to the courts.

Article XXXIII. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects against entries, searches and seizures shall not be impaired except upon judicial warrant issued only for probable cause, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized.
Each search or seizure shall be made upon separate warrant issued for the purpose by a competent officer of a court of law.

Article XXXIV. The infliction of torture by any public officer is absolutely forbidden.

Article XXXV. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.

Article XXXVI. 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 cross-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 be unable to secure the same by his own efforts, be assigned to his use by the government.

Article XXXVII. No person shall be declared guilty of a crime except by a court of competent jurisdiction.
No person shall be twice placed in jeopardy for the same offense.

Article XXXVIII. No person shall be compelled to testify against himself.
No confession shall be admitted in evidence if made under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged arrest or detention.
No person shall be convicted or punished in cases where the only proof against him is his own confession.

Article XXXIX. No person shall be held criminally liable for an act lawful at the time it was committed.

The Diet

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

Article XLI. The Diet shall consist of one House of elected representatives with a membership of not less than 300 nor more than 500.

Article XLII. The qualifications of electors and of candidates for election to the Diet shall be determined by law, and in determining such qualifications there shall be no discrimination because of sex, race, creed, color or social status.

Article XLIII. Members of the Diet shall receive adequate compensation from the national treasury as determined by law.

Article XLIV. Members of the Diet shall in all cases, except those specified by law, be free from arrest while attending the sessions of the Diet or while travelling to and from such sessions; and for any speech, debate, or vote in the Diet, they shall not be held legally liable elsewhere.

Article XLV. The term of the members shall be four years, but it may be terminated at an earlier date by dissolution of the Diet as provided herein.

Article XLVI. The method of election, apportionment, and voting shall be determined by law.

Article XLVII. The Diet shall convene at least once in every year.

Article XLVIII. The Cabinet may call special sessions and shall do so on petition of not less than twenty per cent of the members of the Diet.

Article XLVIX. The Diet shall be the sole judge of the elections and the qualifications of its members. The denial of a seat to anyone who is certified to have been elected and whose right to the seat has been questioned shall require the vote of a majority of the members present.

Article L. A quorum to transact business shall consist of not less than one-third of all the members. Except as otherwise provided herein all actions of the Diet shall be by majority vote of those present. In case of a tie the presiding officer shall cast the deciding vote.

Article LI. The Diet shall choose its presiding officer and other officials. It may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish members for disorderly behavior and expel them. On a motion for expulsion of a member a vote of not less than two-thirds of the members present shall be required to effect such expulsion.

Article LII. No law shall be passed except by bill.

Article LIII. The deliberations of the Diet shall be public, and no secret sessions shall be held. The Diet shall maintain and publish a record of its proceedings and this record shall be made available to the public. The individual votes of members on any question shall be recorded in the journal upon the demand of twenty per cent of those present.

Article LIV. The Diet shall have the power to conduct investigations, to compel the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of records, and to punish for refusal to comply.

Article LV. The Diet by a majority vote of those present shall designate the Prime Minister. The designation of a Prime Minister shall take precedence over all other business of the Diet.
The Diet shall establish the several Ministries of State.

Article LVI. The Prime Minister and the Ministers of State whether or not they hold seats in the Diet may at any time appear before that body for the purpose of presenting and arguing bills, and shall appear when required to answer interpellations.

Article LVII. Within ten days after the passage of a resolution of non-confidence or the failure to pass a resolution of confidence by a majority of the total membership of the Diet, the Cabinet shall resign or order the Diet to dissolve. When the Diet has been ordered dissolved a special election of a new Diet shall be held not less than thirty days nor more than forty days after the date of dissolution. The newly elected Diet shall be convoked within thirty days after the date of election.

Article LVIII. The Diet shall constitute from among its members a court of impeachment to try members of the judiciary against whom removal proceedings have been instituted.

Article LIX. The Diet shall enact all laws necessary and proper to carry into execution the provisions of this Constitution.

The Cabinet

Article LX. The executive power is vested in a Cabinet.

Article LXI. The Cabinet consists of a Prime Minister, who is its head, and such other Ministers of State as may be authorized by the Diet.
In the exercise of the executive power, the Cabinet is collectively responsible to the Diet.

Article LXII. The Prime Minister shall with the advice and consent of the Diet appoint Ministers of State.
The Prime Minister may remove individual Ministers at will.

Article LXIII. Whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of Prime Minister or upon the convening of a new Diet, the Cabinet shall collectively resign and a new Prime Minister shall be designated.
Pending such designation, the Cabinet shall continue to perform its duties.

Article LXIV. The Prime Minister introduces bills on behalf of the Cabinet, reports to the Diet on general affairs of State and the status of foreign relations, and exercises control and supervision over the several executive departments and agencies.

Article LXV. In addition to other executive responsibilities, the Cabinet shall:
Faithfully execute the laws and administer the affairs of State;
Conduct foreign relation;
Conclude such treaties, international conventions and agreements with the consent of the Diet by prior authorization or subsequent ratification as it deems in the public interest;
Administer the civil service according to standards established by the Diet;
Prepare and submit to the Diet an annual budget;
Issue orders and regulations to carry out the provisions of this Constitution and the law, but no such order or regulation shall contain a penal provision; and
Grant amnesty, pardon, commutation of punishment, reprieve and rehabilitation.

Article LXVI. The competent Minister of State shall sign and the Prime Minister shall countersign all acts of the Diet and executive orders.

Article LXVII. Cabinet Ministers shall not be subject to judicial process during their tenure of office without the consent of the Prime Minister, but no right of action shall be impaired by reason hereof.


Article LXVIII. A strong and independent judiciary being the bulwark of the people's rights, the whole judicial power is vested in a Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as the Diet shall from time to time establish.
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 enacted pursuant thereto.

Article LXIX. The Supreme Court is vested with the rule-making power under which it determines the rules of practice and of procedure, the admission of attorneys, the internal discipline of the courts, the administration of judicial affairs, and such other matters as may properly affect the free exercise of the judicial power.
Public procurators shall be officers of the court and subject to its rule-making power.
The Supreme Court may delegate the power to make rules for inferior courts to such courts.

Article LXX. Removals of judges shall be accomplished by public impeachment only and no disciplinary action shall be administered them by any executive organ or agency.

Article LXXI. The Supreme Court shall consist of a chief justice and such number of associate justices as may be determined by the Diet. All such justices shall be appointed by the Cabinet and shall hold office during good behavior but not after the attainment of the age of 70 years, provided however that all such appointments shall be reviewed at the first general election held following the appointment and thereafter at every general election held immediately following the expiration of ten calendar years from the next prior confirmation. Upon a majority vote of the electorate not to retain the incumbent the office shall become vacant.
All such justices shall receive, at regular, stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.

Article LXXII. The judges of the inferior courts shall be appointed by the Cabinet from a list which for each vacancy shall contain the names of at least two persons nominated by the Supreme Court. All such justices shall hold office for a term of ten years with privilege of reappointment and shall receive, at regular, stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office. No judge shall hold office after attaining the age of 70 years.

Article LXXIII. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort. Where the determination of the constitutionality of any law, order, regulation or official act is in question, the judgment of the Supreme Court in all cases arising under or involving Chapter III of this Constitution is final; in all other cases where determination of the constitutionality of any law, ordinance, regulation or official act is in question, the judgment of the Court is subject to review by the Diet.
A judgment of the Supreme Court which is subject to review may be set aside only by the concurring vote of two-thirds of the whole number of representatives of the Diet. The Diet shall establish rules of procedure for reviewing decisions of the Supreme Court.

Article LXXIV. In all cases affecting ambassadors, ministers and consuls of foreign states, the Supreme Court has exclusive original jurisdiction.

Article LXXV. Trials shall be conducted and judgment declared publicly. Where, however, 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 of the press, and cases wherein the rights of citizens as reserved in Chapter III of this Constitution are in question, shall be conducted publicly without exception.


Article LXXVI. The power to levy taxes, borrow money, appropriate funds, issue and regulate the value of coins and currency shall be exercised through the Diet.

Article LXXVII. No new taxes shall be imposed or existing ones modified except by action of the Diet or under such conditions as the Diet may prescribe.
All taxes in effect at the time this Constitution is promulgated shall continue to be collected under existing regulations until changed or modified by the Diet.

Article LXXVIII. No contract shall be entered into in the absence of an appropriation therefor, nor shall the credit of the State be pledged except as authorized by the Diet.

Article LXXIX. The Cabinet shall prepare and submit to the Diet an annual budget setting forth the complete government fiscal program for the next ensuing fiscal year, including all proposed expenditures, anticipated revenues and borrowings.

Article LXXX. The Diet may disapprove, reduce, increase or reject any item in the budget or add new items.
The Diet shall appropriate no money for any fiscal year in excess of the anticipated income for that period, including the proceeds of any borrowings.

Article LXXXI. In order to provide for unforeseen deficiencies in the budget a reserve fund may be authorized to be expended under the direct supervision of the Cabinet.
The Cabinet shall be held accountable to the Diet for all payments from the reserve fund.

Article LXXXII. All property of the Imperial Household, other than the hereditary estates, shall belong to the nation. The income from all Imperial properties shall be paid into the national treasury, and allowances and expenses of the Imperial Household , as defined by law, shall be appropriated by the Diet in the annual budget.

Article LXXXIII. No public money or property shall be appropriated for the use, benefit or support of any system of religion, or religious institution or association, or for any charitable, educational or benevolent purposes not under the control of the State.

Article LXXXIV. A final audit of all expenditures and revenues of the Sate shall be made annually by a board of audit and submitted by the Cabinet to the Diet during the fiscal year immediately following the period covered.
The organization and competency of the board of audit shall be determined by the Diet.

Article LXXXV. At regular intervals and at least annually the Cabinet shall report to the Diet and the people on the state of public finances.

Local Government

Article LXXXVI. The governors of prefectures, the mayors of cities and towns and the chief executive officers of all other subordinate bodies politic and corporate having taxing power, the members of prefectural and local legislative assemblies, and such other prefectural and local officials as the Diet may determine, shall be elected by direct popular vote within their several communities.

Article LXXXVII. The inhabitants of metropolitan areas, cities and towns shall be secure in their right to manage their property, affairs and government and to frame their own charters within such laws as the Diet may enact.

Article LXXXVIII. The Diet shall pass no local or special act applicable to a metropolitan area, city or town where a general act can be made applicable, unless it be made subject to the acceptance of a majority of the electorate of such community.


Article LXXXIX. Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet, through a concurring vote of two-thirds of all its members, 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 such election as the Diet shall specify.
Amendments when so ratified shall immediately be proclaimed by the Emperor, in the name of the People, as an integral part of this Constitution.

Supreme Law

Article XC. This Constitution and the laws and treaties made in pursuance hereof shall be the supreme law of the nation, and no public law or ordinance and no imperial rescript or other governmental act, or part thereof, contrary to the provisions hereof shall have legal force or validity.

Article XCI. The Emperor, upon succeeding to the Throne, and the Regent, Ministers of State, Members of the Diet, Members of the Judiciary and all other public officers upon assuming office, shall be bound to uphold and protect this Constitution.
All public officials duly holding office when this Constitution takes effect shall likewise be so bound and shall remain in office until their successors are elected or appointed.


Article XCII. This Constitution shall be established when ratified by the Diet by roll-call vote of two-thirds of the members present.
Upon ratification by the Diet, the Emperor shall immediately proclaim, in the name of the People, that this Constitution has been established as the supreme law of the nation.

Milo E. Rowell
Lt. Col AUS
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