Events

Constitutional Amendments for the Future
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 6:00pm

The PSU Center for Japanese Studies Presents
The Postwar Constitution of Japan Lecture Series

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....

January 29, 2019 |  6pm   
Smith Student Union, room 338

Constitutional Amendments for the Future

Koichi Yokota, Professor Emeritus Kyushu University

When one considers the political structure that Japan should have in the future, it becomes apparent that the Constitution of Japan has several defects and also areas in need of supplementing.  First, the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee the “human rights of foreigners.” During the process of establishing the Postwar Constitution, a clause included by the American Occupation authorities that guaranteed universal human rights was deleted by Japanese government representatives. Additionally, there are no provisions in the Constitution to guarantee what scholars term “new human rights,” such as the right to privacy, environmental rights, and the right to know (information held by the government). Second, in terms of specifying how the government should operate, there are problems relating to the prime minister’s right to dissolve of the House of Representatives, and also in reference to how the present court system is very slow to provide rulings on fundamental constitutional issues. Many scholars interpret the prime minister’s right to dissolve the House of Representatives as giving the ruling party an unfair political advantage.  Many experts also argue that Japan needs a special Constitutional Court that would be able to respond to constitutional questions quickly, rather than waiting for them to wind their way through the regular court system which often takes years. These and other issues will be the focus of this lecture.   

 

Koichi Yokota is a highly regarded scholar and an expert in the field of constitutional studies. His books inlcude, The Japanese Constitution and The Emperor System and What are Human Rights?

With Support from the United States-Japan Foundation

 

All programs sponsored by the Center for Japanese Studies are funded by donations from the local community, as well as from grants.