The Constitution of Japan
(Promulgated November 3, 1946)
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 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. 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. The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic and succeeded to in
accordance with the Imperial House Law passed by the Diet.
Article 3. 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
Article 4. 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
The Emperor may delegate the performance of his acts in matters of state as
may be provided by law.
Article 5. 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. In this case, paragraph one of the preceding article will be
Article 6. The Emperor shall appoint the Prime Minister as designated by
The Emperor shall appoint the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court as
designated by the Cabinet.
Article 7. The Emperor, with the advice and approval of the Cabinet, shall
perform the following acts in matters of state on behalf of the people:
Promulgation of amendments of the constitution, laws, cabinet orders and
Convocation of the Diet.
Dissolution of the House of Representatives.
Proclamation of general election of members of the Diet.
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.
Attestation of general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment,
reprieve, and restoration of rights.
Awarding of honors.
Attestation of instruments of ratification and other diplomatic documents
as provided for by law.
Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers.
Performance of ceremonial functions.
Article 8. 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. 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
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 belligerency of the state will not be recognized.
Chapter III. Rights and Duties of the People
Article 10. The conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be
determined by law.
Article 11. The people shall not be prevented from enjoying any of the
fundamental human rights. These fundamental human rights guaranteed to the
people by this Constitution shall be conferred upon the people of this and
future generations as eternal and inviolate rights.
Article 12. 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. All of the people shall be respected as individuals. Their
right to life, 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. 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.
Peers and peerage shall not be recognized.
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. The people 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
Universal adult suffrage is guaranteed with regard to the election of
In all elections, secrecy of the ballot shall not be violated. A voter
shall not be answerable, publicly or privately, for the choice he has made.
Article 16. Every person shall have the right of peaceful 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
Article 17. 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. 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 shall not be violated.
Article 20. Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious
organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any
No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious act,
celebration, rite or practice.
The State and its organs shall refrain from religious education or any
other religious activity.
Article 21. Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, 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 22. 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.
Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest
themselves of their nationality shall be inviolate.
Article 23. Academic freedom is guaranteed.
Article 24. 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.
With regard 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. All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum
standards of wholesome and cultured living.
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. All people shall have the right to receive an equal education
correspondent to their ability, as provided by law.
All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their
protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law. Such compulsory
education shall be free.
Article 27. All people shall have the right and the obligation to work.
Standards for wages, hours, rest and other working conditions shall be
fixed by law.
Children shall not be exploited.
Article 28. The right of workers to organize and to bargain and act
collectively is guaranteed.
Article 29. The right to own or to hold property is inviolable. Property
rights shall be defined by law, in conformity with the public welfare.
Private property may be taken for public use upon just compensation
Article 30. The people shall be liable to taxation as provided by law.
Article 31. No person shall be deprived of life or liberty, nor shall any
other criminal penalty be imposed, except according to procedure established
Article 32. No person shall be denied the right of access to the courts.
Article 33. 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. 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. 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
Each search or seizure shall be made upon separate warrant issued by a
competent judicial officer.
Article 36. The infliction of torture by any public officer and cruel
punishments are absolutely forbidden.
Article 37. 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 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 is unable to secure the same by his own efforts, be
assigned to his use by the State.
Article 38. No person shall be compelled to testify against himself.
Confession made under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged
arrest or detention shall not be admitted in evidence.
No person shall be convicted or punished in cases where the only proof
against him is his own confession.
Article 39. 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. 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. The Diet shall be the highest organ of state power, and shall
be the sole law-making organ of the State.
Article 42. The Diet shall consist of two Houses, namely the House of
Representatives and the House of Councillors.
Article 43. Both Houses shall consist of elected members, representative of
all the people.
The number of the members of each House shall be fixed by law.
Article 44. The qualifications of members of both Houses and their electors
shall be fixed by law. However, there shall be no discrimination because of
race, creed, sex, social status, family origin, education, property or income.
Article 45. The term of office of members of the House of Representatives
shall be four years. However, the term shall be terminated before the full
term is up in case the House of Representatives is dissolved.
Article 46. The term of office of members of the House of Councillors shall
be six years, and election for half the members shall take place every three
Article 47. Electoral districts, method of voting and other matters
pertaining to the method of election of members of both Houses shall be fixed
Article 48. No person shall be permitted to be a member of both Houses
Article 49. Members of both Houses shall receive appropriate annual payment
from the national treasury in accordance with law.
Article 50. 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. Members of both Houses shall not be held liable outside the
House for speeches, debates or votes cast inside the House.
Article 52. An ordinary session of the Diet shall be convoked once per
Article 53. The Cabinet may determine to convoke extraordinary sessions of
the Diet. When a quarter or more of the total members of either House makes
the demand, the Cabinet must determine on such convocation.
Article 54. When the House of Representatives is dissolved, there must be a
general election of members of the House of Representatives within forty (40)
days from the date of dissolution, and the Diet must be convoked within thirty
(30) days from the date of the election.
When the House of Representatives is dissolved, the House of Councillors is
closed at the same time. However, the Cabinet may in time of national
emergency convoke the House of Councillors in emergency session.
Measures taken at such session as mentioned in the proviso of the preceding
paragraph shall be provisional and shall become null and void unless agreed to
by the House of Representatives within a period of ten (10) days after the
opening of the next session of the Diet.
Article 55. Each House shall judge disputes related to qualifications of
its members. However, in order to deny a seat to any member, it is necessary
to pass a resolution by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members
Article 56. Business cannot be transacted in either House unless one-third
or more of total membership is present.
All matters shall be decided, in each House, by a majority of those
present, except as elsewhere provided in the Constitution, and in case of a
tie, the presiding officer shall decide the issue.
Article 57. Deliberation in each House shall be public. However, a secret
meeting may be held where a majority of two-thirds or more of those members
present passes a resolution therefor.
Each House shall keep a record of proceedings. This record shall be
published and given general circulation, excepting such parts of proceedings
of secret session as may be deemed to require secrecy.
Upon demand of one-fifth or more of the members present, votes of members
on any matter shall be recorded in the minutes.
Article 58. Each House shall select its own president and other officials.
Each House shall establish its rules pertaining to meetings, proceedings
and internal discipline, and may punish members for disorderly conduct.
However, in order to expel a member, a majority of two-thirds or more of those
members present must pass a resolution thereon.
Article 59. A bill becomes a law on passage by both Houses, except as
otherwise provided by the Constitution.
A bill which is passed by the House of Representatives, and upon which the
House of Councillors makes a decision different from that of the House of
Representatives, becomes a law when passed a second time by the House of
Representatives by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.
The provision of the preceding paragraph does not preclude the House of
Representatives from calling for the meeting of a joint committee of both
Houses, provided for by law.
Failure by the House of Councillors to take final action within sixty (60)
days after receipt of a bill passed by the House of Representatives, time in
recess excepted, may be determined by the House of Representatives to
constitute a rejection of the said bill by the House of Councillors.
Article 60. The budget must first be submitted to the House of
Upon consideration of the budget, when the House of Councillors makes a
decision different from that of the House of Representatives, and when no
agreement can be reached even through a joint committee of both Houses,
provided for by law, or in the case of failure by the House of Councillors to
take final action within thirty (30) days, the period of recess excluded,
after the receipt of the budget passed by the House of Representatives, the
decision of the House of Representatives shall be the decision of the Diet.
Article 61. The second paragraph of the preceding article applies also to
the Diet approval required for the conclusion of treaties.
Article 62. Each House may conduct investigations in relation to
government, and may demand the presence and testimony of witnesses, and the
production of records.
Article 63. The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State may, at any
time, appear in either House for the purpose of speaking on bills, regardless
of whether they are members of the House or not. They must appear when their
presence is required in order to give answers or explanations.
Article 64. The Diet shall set up an impeachment court from among the
members of both Houses for the purpose of trying those judges against whom
removal proceedings have been instituted.
Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided by law.
Chapter V. The Cabinet
Article 65. Executive power shall be vested in the Cabinet.
Article 66. The Cabinet shall consist of the Prime Minister, who shall be
its head, and other Ministers of State, as provided for by law.
The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State must be civilians.
The Cabinet, in the exercise of executive power, shall be collectively
responsible to the Diet.
Article 67. The Prime Minister shall be designated from among the members
of the Diet by a resolution of the Diet. This designation shall precede all
If the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors disagree and
if no agreement can be reached even through a joint committee of both Houses,
provided for by law, or the House of Councillors fails to make designation
within ten (10) days, exclusive of the period of recess, after the House of
Representatives has made designation, the decision of the House of
Representatives shall be the decision of the Diet.
Article 68. The Prime Minister shall appoint the Ministers of State.
However, a majority of their number must be chosen from among the members of
The Prime Minister may remove the Ministers of State as he chooses.
Article 69. If the House of Representatives passes a nonconfidence
resolution, or rejects a confidence resolution, the Cabinet shall resign en
masse, unless the House of Representatives is dissolved within ten (10) days.
Article 70. When there is a vacancy in the post of Prime Minister, or upon
the first convocation of the Diet after a general election of members of the
House of Representatives, the Cabinet shall resign en masse.
Article 71. In the cases mentioned in the two preceding articles, the
Cabinet shall continue its functions until the time when a new Prime Minister
Article 72. The Prime Minister, representing the Cabinet, submits bills,
reports on general national affairs and foreign relations to the Diet and
exercises control and supervision over various administrative branches.
Article 73. The Cabinet, in addition to other general administrative
functions, shall perform the following functions:
Administer the law faithfully; conduct affairs of state.
Manage foreign affairs.
Conclude treaties. However, it shall obtain prior or, depending on
circumstances, subsequent approval of the Diet.
Administer the civil service, in accordance with standards established by
Prepare the budget, and present it to the Diet.
Enact cabinet orders in order to execute the provisions of this
Constitution and of the law. However, it cannot include penal provisions in
such cabinet orders unless authorized by such law.
Decide on general amnesty, special amnesty, commutation of punishment,
reprieve, and restoration of rights.
Article 74. All laws and cabinet orders shall be signed by the competent
Minister of State and countersigned by the Prime Minister.
Article 75. The Ministers of State, during their tenure of office, shall
not be subject to legal action without the consent of the Prime Minister.
However, the right to take that action is not impaired hereby.
Chapter VI. Judiciary
Article 76. The whole judicial power is vested in a Supreme Court and in
such inferior courts as are established by law.
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.
Article 77. The Supreme Court is vested with the rule-making power under
which it determines the rules of procedure and of practice, and of matters
relating to attorneys, the internal discipline of the courts and the
administration of judicial affairs.
Public procurators shall be subject to the rule-making power of the Supreme
The Supreme Court may delegate the power to make rules for inferior courts
to such courts.
Article 78. Judges shall not be removed except by public impeachment unless
judicially declared mentally or physically incompetent to perform official
duties. No disciplinary action against judges shall be administered by any
executive organ or agency.
Article 79. The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Judge and such
number of judges as may be determined by law; all such judges excepting the
Chief Judge shall be appointed by the Cabinet.
The appointment of the judges of the Supreme Court shall be reviewed by the
people at the first general election of members of the House of
Representatives following their appointment, and shall be reviewed again at
the first general election of members of the House of Representatives after a
lapse of ten (10) years, and in the same manner thereafter.
In cases mentioned in the foregoing paragraph, when the majority of the
voters favors the dismissal of a judge, he shall be dismissed.
Matters pertaining to review shall be prescribed by law.
The judges of the Supreme Court shall be retired upon the attainment of the
age as fixed by law.
All such judges shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate
compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.
Article 80. The judges of the inferior courts shall be appointed by the
Cabinet from a list of persons nominated by the Supreme Court. All such judges
shall hold office for a term of ten (10) years with privilege of
reappointment, provided that they shall be retired upon the attainment of the
age as fixed by law.
The judges of the inferior courts shall receive, at regular stated
intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their
terms of office.
Article 81. The Supreme Court is the court of last resort with power to
determine the constitutionality of any law, order, regulation or official act.
Article 82. Trials shall be conducted and judgment declared publicly.
Where 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 involving the press or cases wherein the rights of people
as guaranteed in Chapter III of this Constitution are in question shall always
be conducted publicly.
Chapter VII. Finance
Article 83. The power to administer national finances shall be exercised as
the Diet shall determine.
Article 84. No new taxes shall be imposed or existing ones modified except
by law or under such conditions as law may prescribe.
Article 85. No money shall be expended, nor shall the State obligate
itself, except as authorized by the Diet.
Article 86. The Cabinet shall prepare and submit to the Diet for its
consideration and decision a budget for each fiscal year.
Article 87. In order to provide for unforeseen deficiencies in the budget,
a reserve fund may be authorized by the Diet to be expended upon the
responsibility of the Cabinet.
The Cabinet must get subsequent approval of the Diet for all payments from
the reserve fund.
Article 88. All property of the Imperial Household shall belong to the
State. All expenses of the Imperial Household shall be appropriated by the
Diet in the budget.
Article 89. No public money or other property shall be expended or
appropriated for the use, benefit or maintenance of any religious institution
or association, or for any charitable, educational or benevolent enterprises
not under the control of public authority.
Article 90. Final accounts of the expenditures and revenues of the State
shall be audited annually by a Board of Audit and submitted by the Cabinet to
the Diet, together with the statement of audit, during the fiscal year
immediately following the period covered.
The organization and competency of the Board of Audit shall be determined
Article 91. At regular intervals and at least annually the Cabinet shall
report to the Diet and the people on the state of national finances.
Chapter VIII. Local Self-Government
Article 92. Regulations concerning organization and operations of local
public entities shall be fixed by law in accordance with the principle of
Article 93. The local public entities shall establish assemblies as their
deliberative organs, in accordance with law.
The chief executive officers of all local public entities, the members of
their assemblies, and such other local official as may be determined by law
shall be elected by direct popular vote within their several communities.
Article 94. Local public entities shall have the right to manage their
property, affairs and administration and to enact their own regulations within
Article 95. A special law, applicable only to one local public entity,
cannot be enacted by the Diet without the consent of the majority of the
voters of the local public entity concerned, obtained in accordance with law.
Chapter IX. Amendments
Article 96. Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet,
through a concurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of each
House 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
a special referendum or at such election as the Diet shall specify.
Amendments when so ratified shall immediately be promulgated by the Emperor
in the name of the people, as an integral part of this Constitution.
Chapter X. Supreme Law
Article 97. The fundamental human rights by this Constitution guaranteed to
the people of Japan are fruits of the age-old struggle of man to be free; they
have survived the many exacting tests for durability and are conferred upon
this and future generations in trust, to be held for all time inviolate.
Article 98. This Constitution shall be the supreme law of the nation and no
law, ordinance, imperial rescript or other act of government, or part thereof,
contrary to the provisions hereof, shall have legal force or validity.
The treaties concluded by Japan and established laws of nations shall be
Article 99. The Emperor or the Regent as well as Ministers of State,
members of the Diet, judges, and all other public officials have the
obligation to respect and uphold this Constitution.
Chapter XI. Supplementary Provisions
Article 100. This Constitution shall be enforced as from the day when the
period of six months will have elapsed counting from the day of its
The enactment of laws necessary for the enforcement of this Constitution,
the election of members of the House of Councillors and the procedure for the
convocation of the Diet and other preparatory procedures necessary for the
enforcement of this Constitution may be executed before the day prescribed in
the preceding paragraph.
Article 101. If the House of Councillors is not constituted before the
effective date of this Constitution, the House of Representatives shall
function as the Diet until such time as the House of Councillors shall be
Article 102. The term of office for half the members of the House of
Councillors serving in the first term under this Constitution shall be three
years. Members falling under this category shall be determined in accordance
Article 103. The Ministers of State, members of the House of
Representatives and judges in office on the effective date of this
Constitution, and all other public officials who occupy positions
corresponding to such positions as are recognized by this Constitution shall
not forfeit their positions automatically on account of the enforcement of
this Constitution unless otherwise specified by law. When, however, successors
are elected or appointed under the provisions of this Constitution, they shall
forfeit their positions as a matter of course.