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Constitution of Japan (Part V – Article 7)

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

Article 7

For this blog post, we will explore the trivial element of the constitution. A constitutional scholar and a writer, Mitsuru Kurayama points out there is a misprint in Article 7 (1). To begin, the Article 7 states:

Take a closer look at Article 7 Section 4,  “Proclamation of general elections of the Diet” (2). This is impossible to implement because, like the US Congressman, each parliament holds different term limits. Thus with this constitution, the Lower Diet members can be dissolved by prime minister’s declaration. On the other hand, at least half of the Upper Diet members will always maintain their seats. Henceforth, for all the Upper Diet members to be dissolved is unconstitutional. Furthermore, this made me wonder why such “misprint” exists in this constitution. Unfortunately, I have not found a clear answer to this question. Instead, I discovered something interesting.

According to the GHQ’s documents, the first draft of the constitution by the Minister of State, Joji Matsumoto writes, “Proclamation of general elections” (3). Within the next month or so, the revised version states, “Declaration of total election of the diet members*1 (4). How did the GHQ respond to this change? As far as I have researched, the GHQ did not respond at all. Even those constitutional scholars, like Isao Sato and Tatsukichi Minobe, did not mention anything about this article. As a result, this makes me wonder even more. Why did the GHQ let this problem go? Did it slip through their eyes? It is such a mysterious article…

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*1 This is Naritada Miura’s (my) translation of the Japanese text, since the GHQ’s translated text on p. 183 still says, “Proclamation of general elections

Bibliography:

  1. Kurayama, Mitsuru. (2015). “Teikoku Kenpo Monogatari” [The Story of the Imperial Constitution] (pp. 251-252). Chiyoda, Tokyo: PHP Kenkyusho. 倉山満(2015)『帝国憲法物語』pp. 251-252, PHP研究所.
  2. “Sharaku” Henshubu (Ed.). (2013). “Nihonkoku Kenpo”[Constitution of Japan] (Second ed. Second copy, p. 124-125). Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo: Shogakukan. 「写楽」編集部編(2013)『日本国憲法』p. 124, 小学館.
  3. Charles L. Kades Papers [Online]. Draft Constitution of Japan (First Government Draft), 4 March, 1946 [English] (p. 85). Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/mdu-prange-30402/page/n84
  4. Charles L. Kades Papers [Online]. “Final” Draft of Japanese Constitution (Third Government Draft) submitted to Privy Council and published on 17 April, 1946 [Japanese] (p. 152). Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/mdu-prange-30402/page/n151

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