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Constitution of Japan (Part IV – Article 9)

[This is a guest post written by Naritada Miura, a Student Assistant in the Prange Collection. This is the fourth post of the series of Constitution of Japan.  See Part I, Part II, and Part III]

Article 9

This is the most controversial topic, the Article 9. Note, this blog post is not meant to support nor to criticize any political views. Based on the archives, this post will examine the uniqueness of this article.  

To mark the end of the warring era, Potsdam Declaration in 1945 emphasized the construction of “PEACE” as its main objective. In realizing this goal, rebirth of Japan envisioned a state without a military force, as one can see from the illustration below:

However, as the debate over “self-defense” is still relevant in Japanese politics, Yoshida administration at that time maintained its firm stance, “the chapter on abolishing military force in this article does not directly negate the existence of the self-defense force” (1).  Even Tatsukichi Minobe writes, “looking at the constitutions around the world, [though] there are constitutions that prohibit the invasive warfare; there is not a single constitution that prohibits the defensive warfare” (2). Furthermore, a constitutional scholar, Matasuke Kawamura supports, “When the unlawful nation tries to invade us, we must defend ourselves. We would use our self-defense power. This power is also guaranteed by the United Nation” (3). This idea did not conflict with the GHQ’s stance as, “Japan is permitted to rearm, the armed forces would be of a very limited scope such as are necessary for the maintenance of peace and order in the country” (4). Nonetheless, the following sentence writes, “the nation[Japan] on its own part should harbour no intention of having again any army or navy such as it had before” (5). In short, the GHQ tried to establish an Utopian nation of Japan without military presence on one hand. At the same time, the GHQ also realized for Japan to maintain its sovereignty, they needed to arm themselves to a certain extent.



  1. Sato, Isao. (1948). “Kenpo Kaisei no Keika” [The Processo of Amending the Constitution] (First ed. Second copy, p. 168), Tokyo: Nippon Hyoronsha. 佐藤功(1947)『憲法改正の經過』p. 168, 日本評論社. (Prange Call Number JQ-0165)
  2. Minobe, Tatsukichi. (1950). “Shin Kenpo Chikujo Kaisetsu” [Article by Article Explanation of the New Constitution]. (First ed. Nineteenth copy, p. 34). Tokyo: Nippon Hyoronsha. 美濃部達吉(1947)『新憲法逐条解説』p. 34, 日本評論社. (Prange Call Number JQ-0131)
  3. Kawamura, Matasuke. (1946). “Shin Kenpo Gaisetsu” [Explanation on the New Constitution] (p. 13). Fukuoka City, Fukuoka: Nishi Shinbunsha. 河村又介(1946)『新憲法概説』p. 13, 西日本新聞社.  (Prange Call Number JQ-9035g)
  4. Charles L. Kades Papers [Online]. Gist of Matsumoto Revision submitted 7 February 1946: General Explanation of the Constitutional Revision Drafted by the Government: Proposed Revision of the Army and Navy Provisions in the Constitution (p. 448). Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/mdu-prange-30402/page/n447
  5. Ibid

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