Full Draft



KIMURA Mutsuo1
A New Constitution for the Heisei Era2
April 20, 1996

Chapter I. The Emperor

Article 1. (The Status of the Emperor)
In accordance with Japan’s history and traditions, the Emperor shall be the dynastic head of state and the representative of Japan.

Article 2. (The Sovereignty of the People)
The Imperial Throne shall be the symbol of the unity of the people, based on the will of the people with whom resides sovereign power.

Article 3. (Imperial Succession and Reign Names)
The Imperial Throne shall be dynastic in accordance with the Imperial House Law.
(2) The imperial era name shall be decided at the time of the Emperor’s accession to the throne.

Article 4. (Delegating the Emperor’s Acts in Matters of State and the Advice of the Cabinet)
The approval of the Cabinet shall be required for acts of the Emperor in matters of state as are provided for in this Constitution, and the Cabinet shall be fully responsible therefor.
(2) The Emperor may delegate the performance of his acts in matters of state to a qualified heir as may be provided by law.

Article 5. (Regencies)
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.

Article 6. (The Emperor’s Power to Appoint)
The Emperor shall appoint the Prime Minister and the Chief Judge of the Constitutional Court as designated by the Diet.
(2) The Emperor shall appoint the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court as designated by the Cabinet.
(3) The Emperor shall appoint the Ministers of State based on a petition submitted by the Prime Minister to the Emperor.3

Article 7. (The Emperor's Acts in Matters of State)
In addition to the acts stipulated in the preceding article, the Emperor shall perform the following acts:
1. Promulgation of amendments of the constitution, laws, cabinet orders and treaties.
2. Convocation of the Diet.
3. Dissolution of the Diet.
4. Proclamation of elections of members of the Diet.
5. Conferment and signing of letters of appointment and dismissal of national government officials as provided for by law, and full powers and credentials of Ambassadors and Ministers.
6. Receiving foreign ambassadors and ministers.
7. The ratification of treaties and signing of other diplomatic documents as provided for by law.
8. Declaring a state of emergency.4
9. Awarding general and special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
10. Awarding of honors.
11. Performance of rituals and other ceremonial functions.
In addition to each of the preceding items, [the Emperor] shall perform acts related to the Imperial Throne.

Chapter II. National Security

Article 8. (Respect for International Order and the Disavowal of War)
Aspiring sincerely to international peace, Japan rejects all acts of aggression and war as a sovereign right of the nation, except in cases of self-defense.

Article 9. (Observing Treaties and International Laws)
The treaties concluded by Japan and established laws of nations shall be faithfully observed.

Article 10. (The Maintenance of a Self-Defense Army)
In order to preserve the peace and independence of the nation, and protect the people’s fundamental human rights, a Self-Defense Army shall be maintained.
(2) The power to organize, control, and supervise the Self-Defense Army shall be vested in the Prime Minister.
(3) If the Prime Minister mobilizes the Self-Defense Army, the consent of the Diet must be obtained. However, in the event of an emergency or unavoidable circumstances, the approval of the Diet must be obtained within one month after [the Self-Defense Army] is mobilized.

Article 11. (International Cooperation and Dispatching the Self-Defense Army Overseas)
In order to preserve international peace and security, the Prime Minister may, with the approval of the Diet, dispatch the Self-Defense Army overseas if the United Nations passes a collective security resolution and it is deemed necessary that our country cooperates. If the Diet is closed, the approval of the Diet must be obtained within one month after [the Self-Defense Army] is dispatched.

Chapter III. Rights and Duties of the People

Article 12. (The Conditions Necessary for Being a Japanese National)
The conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law.

Article 13. (Enjoying Fundamental Human Rights and Prohibiting the Abuse [of Rights])
All fundamental human rights that are stipulated in this Constitution are inalienable rights and shall be guaranteed by the people.
(2) The people shall always make the best use of these rights for the public welfare and must refrain from abusing them.

Article 14. (Equality Before the Law and Honors)
All of the people are equal before the law.5
(2) There shall be no discrimination in all regulations related to the people’s lives because of race, sex, creed, or social status.
(3) Awards of honor, decoration or any distinction shall not be valid beyond the lifetime of the individual who receives them.

Article 15. (Freedom of Thought and Conscience)
Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.

Article 16. (Academic Freedom)
Academic freedom is guaranteed.

Article 17. (Freedom of Religion)
All people have the freedom of religion.
(2) All people have the right to participate in religious acts or rites to the extent that they do not interfere with the public welfare.

Article 18. (The Prohibition of Religious Activities by the State and Local Public Entities)
The State and local public entities shall refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.
(2) No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political authority.

Article 19. (The Expenditure of Public Money and Limits on the Use of Public Property)
The State must not expend public money or appropriate other property for the use, any religious association.

Article 20. (The Freedom of Assembly, Association, and Speech; and the Secrecy of Communication)
Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.
(2) These freedoms must not be restricted as long as they do not compromise national security, harm public order, or damage a person’s honor or infringe on their rights.
(3) No censorship shall be maintained.
(4) The secrecy of any means of communication shall not be violated.

Article 21. (The People's Freedom to Choose and Change Their Residences, and Choose Their Occupation)
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.

Article 22. (Marriage and the Family)
Matrimony6 shall be based on the mutual consent of a man and a woman. Husband and wife shall have equal rights and their family shall be maintained through mutual cooperation.
(2) With regard to the family’s domicile and property rights, laws that will lead to a prosperous and happy family life shall be enacted.

Article 23. (The Right to Own or to Hold Property)
The right to own or hold property is guaranteed.
(2) Property rights shall be defined by law, in conformity with the public welfare.
(3) Private property may be taken for public use upon just compensation therefor.

Article 24. (The Freedom to Move to a Foreign Country and Divest One’s Nationality)
Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality is guaranteed.

Article 25. (The Right to a Certain Standard of Living)
All people shall have the right to maintain a wholesome and cultured living, and the right to a certain standard of living.
(2) The State shall use its endeavors for the promotion of social welfare and security, and of public health, and for the preservation of a good environment.

Article 26. (Educational Rights and Obligations)
The Japanese people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided for by law.
(2) All people shall be obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law.
(3) Such compulsory education shall be free.

Article 27. (The Right to Know and the Inviolability of Private Matters)
The right to know is guaranteed to all people.
(2) No person shall intrude on [another person’s] private matters.

Article 28. (The Right and Obligation to Work, and the Prohibition Against Child Exploitation)
All people shall have the right and the obligation to work.
(2) Children shall not be exploited.

Article 29. (The Right of Workers to Organize)
The right of workers to organize and to bargain and act collectively is guaranteed.

Article 30.  (The Rights of the Accused in Criminal Cases)
The accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial tribunal.
(2) 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.
(3) The accused shall have the assistance of counsel who shall, if the accused is unable to secure the same by his own efforts, be assigned to his use by the State.
Every person shall have the right of peaceful petition for the redress of damage, for the removal of public officials, and for the enactment, repeal or amendment of laws.
(2) No person shall in any way be discriminated against for sponsoring such a petition.

Article 32. (The Obligation to Defend the Nation)
All people shall be obligated to defend the nation as provided for by law.

Article 33. (Tax Obligations)
The people shall be liable to taxation as provided by law.

Article 34. (The Obligation to Obey the Law)
The people shall be obligated to obey the Constitution and the law.7

Chapter IV. The Diet

Article 35. (The Position of the Diet and its powers)
The Diet shall be the legislative branch of the government which represents the people. In addition to the following powers, the Diet also has powers which are stipulated in laws and the Constitution:
Legislative power:
1. The right to vote on the budget.
2. The right to approve treaties.
3. The right to conduct investigations in relation to government.

Article 36. (The Unicameral System)
The Diet shall consist of one House composed of elected members, representative of all the people.

Article 37. (The Number of Members of the Diet and Their Terms of Office) 
The number of the members of the Diet shall be fixed by law.
(2) The term of office of members of the Diet shall be four years. However, if the Diet is dissolved, the term shall be terminated at that time.

Article 38. (The Qualifications of Members of the Diet and Their Electors)
The qualifications of members of the Diet and their electors shall be fixed by law. However, there shall be no discrimination because of race, religion, sex, social status, property or education.

Article 39. (Matters Pertaining to Elections)
The demarcation of electoral districts, method of voting and other matters pertaining to the method of election shall be fixed by law.

Article 40. (The Annual Salaries Paid to Diet members)
Members of the Diet shall receive appropriate annual payment from the national treasury in accordance with law.

Article 41. (Diet Members' Immunity from Arrest)
Except in cases of flagrante delicto8 and cases provided by law, members of the Diet 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 42. (Immunity from Liability for Statements and Votes)
Members of the Diet shall not be held liable outside the Diet for speeches, debates or votes cast inside the Diet.

Article 43. (Judging Disputes Related to Qualifications)
The Diet shall judge disputes related to qualifications of its members. However, in order to disqualify a member from holding office, it is necessary to pass a resolution by a majority of two-thirds or more of the members present.

Article 44. (Ordinary sessions)
The Cabinet may decide to convene an extraordinary session of the Diet. In this case, if a request is made by more than one-fourth of the members of the Diet, the Cabinet must decide to convene it.

Article 45. (Extraordinary sessions)
The Cabinet may determine to convoke extraordinary sessions of the Diet. When a quarter or more of the total members of the Diet makes the demand, the Cabinet must determine on such convocation.

Article 46. (Special sessions)
When the Diet is dissolved, there must be a general election of members of the Diet within forty (40) days from the date of dissolution, and the Cabinet must convoke the Diet within thirty (30) days from the date of the election.

Article 47. (Emergency measures)
If a state of emergency occurs while the Diet is dissolved, it shall be the responsibility of the Cabinet to take the necessary emergency measures.
(2) In this case, [the Cabinet] must request approval from the Diet within a period of ten (10) days after the opening of the next session of the Diet. If [the Cabinet] is unable to obtain approval, such measures shall become null and void.

Article 48. (Quorums and Voting Methods)
Business cannot be transacted in the Diet unless one-third or more of total membership is present.
(2) All matters shall be decided, in the Diet, 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 49. (Public Deliberations, Records of Proceedings, and the Recording of Votes)
Deliberation in the Diet 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.
(2) The Diet shall keep a record of its 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.
(3) Upon demand of one-fifth or more of the members present, votes of members on any matter shall be recorded in the minutes.

Article 50. (The Selection of Officials, Rules, and Discipline)
The Diet shall select its own president and other officials.
(2) The Diet shall establish its rules pertaining to meetings, proceedings and internal discipline, and may punish members for disorderly conduct.9 However, in order to expel a member, two-thirds or more of those members present must pass a resolution thereon.

Article 51. (The Right to Investigate the Government)
The Diet may conduct investigations in relation to government, and may demand the presence and testimony of witnesses, and the production of records.

Article 52. (The Special Obligation of Cabinet Ministers to Appear in the Diet)
The Prime Minister and other Ministers of State may, at any time, appear in the Diet for the purpose of speaking on bills, regardless of whether they are members of the Diet or not. They must appear when their presence is required in order to give answers or explanations.

Article 53. (The Impeachment Court)
The Diet shall set up an impeachment court from among the members of the Diet for the purpose of trying those judges against whom removal proceedings have been instituted.
(2) Matters relating to impeachment shall be provided by law.

Chapter V. The Cabinet

Article 54. (Executive Power)
Executive power shall be vested in the Cabinet.

Article 55. (The Organization of the Cabinet)
The Cabinet shall consist of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of State, as provided for by law.
(2) The Cabinet, in the exercise of executive power, shall be collectively responsible to the Diet.

Article 56. (The Designation of the Prime Minister)
The Prime Minister shall be designated from among the members of the National Assembly by a resolution of the National Assembly. This designation shall precede all other business.

Article 57. (The Appointment and Dismissal of Ministers of State)
The power to petition the Emperor for the appointment or removal of the Ministers of State shall be vested in the Prime Minister. However, a majority of their number must be chosen from among the members of the Diet for such appointments.

Article 58. (The Official Duties of the Prime Minister)
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 59. (The Official Duties of the Cabinet)
The Cabinet, in addition to other general administrative functions, shall perform the following functions:
1. Administer the law faithfully; conduct affairs of state.
2. 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.
&3. Manage foreign affairs.
4. Conclude treaties. However, it shall obtain prior or subsequent approval of the Diet.
5. Administer the civil service (kōmuin), in accordance with standards established by law.
6. Prepare the budget, and present it to the Diet.
7. Decide on general amnesty, special amnesty, commutation of punishment, reprieve, and restoration of rights.
(2) All laws and cabinet orders shall be signed by the competent Minister of State and countersigned by the Prime Minister.

Article 60. (The Special Privilege of the Ministers of State)
The Ministers of State shall not be subject to legal action without the consent of the Prime Minister.

Chapter VI. The Constitutional Court

Article 61. (The Constitutional Court)
The Constitutional Court is a special court that makes decisions exclusively related to the Constitution.
(2) The number of judges of the Constitutional Court shall be eleven (11), and their terms of office shall be ten (10) years.
(3) The procedures relating to lawsuits and other important matters shall be determined by law.

Article 62. (The Powers of the Constitutional Court)
The Constitutional Court shall have the following powers:
1. Decide the constitutionality of treaties, laws, orders, regulations, or official acts in cases where the Cabinet or two-thirds of more of the members in the National Assembly [submit] a request, as provided for by law.
2. Decide on the constitutionality of matters related to specific lawsuits at the request of the Supreme court or inferior courts, as provided by law.
3. If a party to a specific lawsuit has an objection to the constitutional judgement of the Supreme court, [the Constitutional Court] shall make a decision regarding that objection, as provided for by law.

Article 63. (The Validity of Decisions)
If the Constitutional Court determines that a treaty, law, order, regulation, or official act is unconstitutional, all people shall be bound by that decision, except in cases provided by law.

Article 64. (The Appointment of Judges and Remuneration)
The Constitutional Court shall consist of a Chief Judge and ten judges. The Cabinet shall appoint the judges, excepting the Chief Judge, as designated by the Diet.
(2) Such judges shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.

Chapter VII. Judiciary

Article 65. (Judicial Power and the Court, Independence of Judges)
Judicial power is vested in a Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as are established by law.
(2) No organ or agency of the Executive shall be given final judicial power.
(3) Judges, whose qualifications shall be determined by law, shall be independent in the exercise of their conscience and shall be bound only by this Constitution and the laws.

Article 66. (The Rule-Making Powers of the Supreme Court)
The Supreme Court is vested with the rule-making power under which it determines the rules of procedure and of practice, the internal discipline of the courts and the administration of judicial affairs. It may also delegate this power to inferior courts.
(2) Public procurators shall be subject to the rule-making power of the Supreme Court.

Article 67. (The Composition of the Supreme Court and the Appointment of Judges)
The Supreme Court shall consist of a Chief Judge and a fixed number of judges determined by law who are appointed by the Cabinet.
(2) The judges of the inferior courts shall be appointed by the Cabinet from a list of candidates prepared by the Supreme Court.

Article 68. (Judges’ Guarantee of Status, Retirement, and Remuneration)10
Judges shall not be removed except by impeachment proceedings or unless judicially declared unable to perform official duties due to mental or physical disabilities.
(2) Judges shall be retired upon the attainment of the age as fixed by law.
(3) Such judges shall receive, at regular stated intervals, adequate compensation which shall not be decreased during their terms of office.

Article 69. (Public Trials)
Trials shall be conducted and judgment declared publicly.
(2) Where a court unanimously determines publicity to be dangerous to public order or morals, a trial may be closed to the public.

Chapter VIII. Finance

Article 70. (The Basic Principles of Administering Finance)
National finances shall be administered by the Cabinet as the Diet shall determine.

Article 71. (The Budget)
The Cabinet shall prepare and submit a budget to the Diet for each fiscal year. After the [Diet] decides [on the budget], the Cabinet shall implement it.

Article 72. (Taxes)
No new taxes shall be imposed or modified except by law.

Article 73. (National Expenditure and Debt Burden)
No money shall be expended, nor shall the State obligate itself, except as authorized by the Diet.

Article 74. (Reserve Funds)
In order to provide for unforeseen deficiencies in the budget, the Cabinet may appropriate a reserve fund authorized by the Diet. If there are payments from the reserve fund, [the Cabinet] must obtain the subsequent approval of the Diet.

Article 75. (Property and Expenses of the Imperial House)
All property of the Imperial Household shall belong to the State.11 Any increase or decrease of [such property] shall be specified by law.
(2) All expenses of the Imperial Household shall be appropriated by the Diet in the budget.

Article 76. (Provisional Budget)
In the event that the budget is rejected after the start of the fiscal year, the Cabinet must prepare a temporary budget for a fixed period of time as necessary, and submit it to the Diet.
(2) The temporary budget shall become null and void when the budget is approved.

Article 77. (Continuing Expenditures)
For construction, projects, etc. that require more than one year to complete, the Cabinet may receive approval from the Diet in advance to pay [for such projects] over a period of several years.

Article 78. (Prohibition Against Increasing the Budget)
When the Diet is discussing the budget, the addition of an amendment to increase the budget shall not be permitted.

Article 79. (Expenditure Auditing, Board of Audit of Japan)
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.
(2) The organization and competency of the Board of Audit shall be determined by law.

Chapter VIII. Local Self-Government

Article 80. (Principles of Local Self-Government)
The organization and operations of local public entities shall be fixed by law in accordance with the principle of local autonomy.

Article 81. (Rights of Local Public Entities)
Local public entities may manage their property, affairs and administration and to enact their own regulations within law.

Article 82. (Institutions of Local Public Entities and Elections)
The local public entities shall establish assemblies as their deliberative organs, in accordance with law.
(2) The chief executive officers of all local public entities and the members of their assemblies, shall be elected by direct popular vote by the residents of their respective communities.

Article 83. (Special Referendums)
If a bill is only applicable to a specific local public entity, it cannot become a law without the consent of the majority of the voters of the local public entity concerned, obtained in accordance with law.

Chapter X. Amendments

Article 84.
Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet or the Cabinet, through a resolution of two-thirds or more of all the members of the Diet.
(2) When amendments are passed through such a resolution, they shall immediately be promulgated by the Emperor in the name of the people, as an integral part of this Constitution.