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America's Influence on Japan's Constitution of 1947

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The constitution of Japan was propagated on 3rd Nov, in the year 1946 and put into effect on 3rd May in the year 1997. Both American Constitution and the Government had a significant influence on the enactment process of the Post War Constitution. It is frequently known as the Mac Arthur Constitution, since it was drafted by the staff of General Mac Arthur the Supreme Commander for allied power (SCAP) and both the Japanese people and the Japanese Government had limited amount of input to it. Therefore, this paper will discuss the influence of the United States on Japan’s Constitution. At the end World War II, allied powers such as the United States with other assistances from countries such as India, Australia, and New Zealand occupied Japan (Hook, Glenn, and Gavan, 2003).

Political Influence

There are many pressures on the new Post-War Constitution, for analytical principles, they can be divided into two types of pressure. The first one is a more deliberate political pressure, while the other one is a subtle indirect pressure. The political pressures originated from SCAP and its staffs, whereas the legal pressures rooted from the text plus fundamental ideas of the American Constitution. One of the political pressures is noticeably manifested in the latest status of the monarch and rules of the United States Government same as of Gen. MacArthur to protect the ruler as the head of state, so as to perform a stable and efficient occupation reforms in order for Japan to be a democratic state. MacArthur decided to clear Emperor Hirohito and at the beginning of year 1945, MacArthur had stated that the emperor’s abdication is not necessary. He cleared Hirohito and disregarded the advice of several members of the royal family plus the Japanese intellectual who openly requested for the resignation of the ruler and the execution of regency. For instance, Prince Mikasa the youngest Hirohito’s brother stood up in the year 1946 and contended his brother to be accountable for the conquer and still the well known poet by the name Tatsuji Miyoshi wrote an article in Shicho magazine with the title as “emperor should abdicate quickly.” Decision of MacArthur to protect the monarch system was powerfully supported after meeting with the monarch in the year 1945, for the first time and he was intensely enlightened by the emperor’s genuine attitude (Hook et al, 2003). During that time, the emperor appeared at the top of the war criminal list planned by the Britain and Soviet Union. MacArthur was terrified by the fact that if the ruler were put to death, it might become necessary to own military rule with the likelihood of rebellions happening within Japan. Then, he considered that the ruler should be taken care of and anticipated that the ruler would implore and not to be accused as being against the law as various leaders of conquered countries would have done.

Surrender of Japan

Initially, Japan gave into the allies on 14th August in the year 1945, when the Japanese government informed the allied that it had admitted the Post-dam declaration.  The Emperor Hirohito proclaimed the unconditional surrender of Japan in the following day on the radio. This declaration was the first radio broadcast made by the emperor and became the first time the Japan’s citizens heard their independent’s voice and this date is called Victory for Japan. This also indicated the end of WWII and the start of a lengthy path to revival for a smashed Japan (Hook et al, 2003). On Victory over Japan day, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was appointed as a supreme commander for allied powers (SCAP) by Harry Truman the president of the United States to manage the Japan’s occupation. During the period of war, these allied powers arranged to divide Japan among themselves for reasons of occupation, as was done for the occupation of Germany.  There is no clear reason why occupation plan was altered but common theories add the raised power of the U.N following expansion of the atomic bomb, and the greater distrust by the United State’s President of the Soviet Union when compared with Roosevelt, plus high desire to hold “Soviet Union” in the “Far East” after the “Yalta Conference.”

Outcomes of Occupation


The Post-War Constitution of Japan adopted under allied management incorporated a “peace clause” article 9, which gave up war and barred Japan from sustaining any armed forces. This aimed to stop the country from turning into a violent military power once more. Nevertheless, for a decade, American was demanding Japan to reorganize the Japan’s army as a barricade against collectivism in Asia after the Korean and Chinese Civil War and Japan set up a Self Defense Forces. Conventionally, spending of Japan’s military has been limited to around one percent of its Gross Net Profit, although this is a well-liked practice, not law and has changed down and up from the country figures (Higuchi and Yoichi, 2008). Currently, past prime minister and other politicians have attempted to modify the clause, even though the intention of the American occupation was to demilitarize the Japanese because of the succeeding Asian peril of collectivism. According to the American argument, the Japanese military was gradually resorted to substantial strength, and currently, the Japan has the 6th biggest military budget in the world.


The occupation wasn’t a straightforward trial in a democracy; it is frequently depicted to be with a strengthening of the cold war supreme commander allied powers reined in its reforms initiatives.  In the year 1947, the United States main concerns moved audibly from open-minded social change into economic revival and internal political constancy.  Democratization demilitarization lost impetus and then appeared to stall, economic de-concentration, for instance, it was left unfinished as GHQ replied to the latest imperatives. American systems motivated business practices plus industrial rules, which have since turn to sources of disputation between Japan and its focal trade partners, markedly the U.S.  In the occupation, SCAP/GHQ effectively put an end to several of the financial alliances called Zaibatsu that had before monopolized firm. Together with later American alteration of heart, nevertheless, these economic changes were also held back by the powerful and wealthy Japanese who clearly stood to mislay a vast deal. Consequently, there were those who opposed any kind of efforts at changes proclaiming that the Zaibatsu were needed for Japan to finish globally and looser industrial federations called Keirestu developed (Higuchi and Yoichi, 2008). A key land reform was carried out, guided by Wolf Ladejinsky of Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s SCAP staffs. Between year 1947 and 1949, about 5,800,000 hectares of land were bought from the landowners under reform program of the government and resold at tremendously low costs to the cultivators who worked them, and by the year 1957, 3 million peasants had obtained land dismantling authority structures that the landowner had long conquered.


The constitution of Japan is currently more than 60 years old and it has been modified more than once. The American constitution is more than 200 years old and it has been modified 27 times. Therefore, views and evaluations of the Japanese constitution at the age of 60 are tremendously differed and some individuals would states that it has turn into simply a nominal document, some deprecate its erosion, whereas others declare that the constitution is out of touch with actuality and should be modified. Nevertheless, it could be incorrect to propose that the constitution of Japan is insignificant, since by doing so, one may be misconstruing post-war history the fact is that the constitution has endured cruel critics both at home and overseas for more than 60 years and turn out to be a foundation of constitutionalism in Japanese society.

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