Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Constitution of Japan

The Constitution of Japan became effective on May 3, 1947. It is notable for its declaration that sovereignty resides with the people, its assertion of fundamental human rights, and its renunciation of war and arms. A thoroughly democratic document, it reflected the policies of the Allied Occupation and was largely modeled after the British and American constitutions. It revolutionized the political system, which under the Meiji Constitution had been based on the principle that sovereignty resided with the emperor. The constitution incorporates a democratic quest for social justice. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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