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Japan’s Constitutional Law, 1945–1990

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Chapter Summary

The Constitution of Japan was drafted, debated, approved by parliament, and promulgated by the emperor between February and November, 1946, in the form of a revision of the 1889 Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Meiji Constitution); it came into effect on May 3, 1947. Japan's constitutional revolution since 1945 has fundamentally altered the status of the emperor, ordinary people and their rights, the military, the courts, and local government under the "new" constitution. Two distinctive features of Japan's constitutional politics deserve attention: the revision debate and political linkages between the emperor, the military, and human rights. A key indicator of the status of human rights in constitutional law is the quality of a country's enforcement of criminal justice rights. In Japan's civil law system, Codes such as the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure are fundamental, even quasi-constitutional in nature.

Keywords: civil law system; constitutional law; constitutional revolution; criminal justice rights; human rights; Japan; Meiji constitution; politics



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