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Constitutionalism And Rights In Japan And Korea

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Chapter Summary

The modern constitutional histories, political cultures, and recent human rights records of Japan and South Korea differ profoundly, yet indigenous understandings of individual rights common today in both countries are similar to those expressed in United Nations human rights documents; both nations have been influenced by American constitutionalism. A look at a few aspects of the United States' influence on rights in Japan and Korea may further the understanding of American strengths and limitations while providing a clarified perspective on two of America's close non-Western friends. South Korea's present dependence on the United States for its security continues an historic pattern. The catalyst of the American Occupation period in Japan gave lasting legitimacy and institutionalization to human rights ideas that until then had been perennially subordinate to statist authoritarianism; Constitution of Japan fit in with politico-legal culture and national needs and desires at a unique historical instance of catastrophic defeat.

Keywords: constitutionalism; human rights; Japan; politico-legal culture; South Korea; United States



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