LDP Proposals to Revise Human RightsProvisions of Japan’s ConstitutionLawrence RepetaProfessor, Meiji UniversityMay 23, 2013
Background• The Liberal Democratic Party released comprehensive proposals toamend Japan’s Constitution in April 2012. Prim...
Amendment ProceduresPresent Article 96(1) AMENDMENTSAmendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet, throug...
Amendment Procedures• If adopted, this change would expedite any and allconstitutional amendments, including LDP proposals...
Preamble: “Universal” or “Unique”?• The Preamble in the present Constitutiondeclares allegiance to the universal nature of...
Universal Rights or Traditional Rights?• The United Nations Charter and numerousinternational human rights treaties seek t...
Delete Guarantee of FundamentalHuman RightsArticle 97 of the present Constitution provides thispowerful declaration:The fu...
New Duties for the PeopleLDP proposals would not only reduce human rights protections, theywould also impose new duties on...
New Duties for the People Duty to “Respect the Constitution”:LDP Proposed Article 102(1):“All of the people must respect ...
Article 12“Public Order” vs. Individual Rights• Present Article 12 The freedoms and rights guaranteed to the people bythis...
Article 13“Public Order” vs. “Rights to Life, Liberty…”• Present Article 13• All of the people shall be respected as indiv...
“Duties and Obligations,”“Public Order”• LDP Article 12: The people “shall be aware that duties andobligations accompany f...
New Duty Regarding InformationLDP Proposed New Article 19-2“No person shall improperly acquire, possess or useinformation ...
New Restriction on Free SpeechPresent Article 21(1) Freedom of assembly and association as wellas speech, press and all ot...
State of EmergencyLDP proposes a new constitutional power to authorize extraordinarygovernment action when the PM declares...
State of EmergencyProposed New Articles 98 (2) (3) (4) provideadditional details, including:-- the Diet could vote to canc...
State of EmergencyArticle 99 (Effects of Declaration of a State of Emergency)(1) When a declaration of state of emergency ...
State of Emergency(緊急事態の宣言の効果)第九十九条 緊急事態の宣言が発せられたときは、法律の定めるところにより、内閣は法律と同一の効力を有する政令を制定することができるほか、内閣総理大臣は財政上必要な支出その他の処分を行い、...
Japan Civil Liberties Union• To be drafted.• www.jclu.org19
SourcesEnglish version of Japan’s present Constitution:http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/constitution_and_government_of_japa...
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Public Lecture Presentation Slides (5.23.2013) Lawrence Repeta: LDP Propos…

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Lawrence Repeta: Professor at Meiji University Faculty of Law, and former director of the Temple University School of Law, Tokyo Campus

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Public Lecture Presentation Slides (5.23.2013) Lawrence Repeta: LDP Propos…

  1. 1. LDP Proposals to Revise Human RightsProvisions of Japan’s ConstitutionLawrence RepetaProfessor, Meiji UniversityMay 23, 2013
  2. 2. Background• The Liberal Democratic Party released comprehensive proposals toamend Japan’s Constitution in April 2012. Prime Minister Abe hasrepeatedly confirmed that the Party will move forward on this planunder his leadership. He has said that the first step would be toreduce parliamentary majorities required for amendment fromtwo-thirds to simple majorities.• The LDP has advocated revision of the Constitution since itsfounding in 1955. For many years, debate over constitutionalamendment has focused on Article 9, in which Japan renounceswar, but the LDP’s current reform plan promises much more.• The overall theme of the 2012 package is expanded governmentpower over the people and reduced protection for individual rights.If this plan were adopted Japan would be turning its back on theglobal movement toward expanded human rights protection andgovernment accountability.2
  3. 3. Amendment ProceduresPresent Article 96(1) AMENDMENTSAmendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by the Diet, through aconcurring vote of two-thirds or more of all the members of eachHouse and shall thereupon be submitted to the people for ratification, whichshall require the affirmative vote of a majority of all votes cast thereon, at a specialreferendum or at such election as the Diet shall specify.LDP Proposed New Article 100(1)Amendments to this Constitution shall be initiated by either the House ofRepresentatives or House of Councilors and after resolutions of both Houses areapproved by majorities of all members of each House, shall besubmitted to the people for ratification. This ratification shall require a vote of thepeople conducted as provided by law and the affirmative vote of a majority of allvalid votes cast.第十章 改正 第百条この憲法の改正は、衆議院又は参議院の議員の発議により、両議院のそれぞれの総議員の過半数の賛成で国会が議決し、国民に提案してその承認を得なければならない。この承認には、法律の定めるところにより行われる国民の投票において有効投票の過半数の賛成を必要とする。3
  4. 4. Amendment Procedures• If adopted, this change would expedite any and allconstitutional amendments, including LDP proposals toweaken protection for fundamental human rights, asdescribed below.• The LDP has never submitted a proposal through theexisting amendment procedure in Constitution Article96(1).• Most constitutional democracies require parliamentarysuper-majorities for constitutional amendment. Thecommon belief is that this requirement serves as a strongcommitment to protect fundamental rights and otherconstitutional values that should not be easily changed.4
  5. 5. Preamble: “Universal” or “Unique”?• The Preamble in the present Constitutiondeclares allegiance to the universal nature ofhuman rights, including the statement thatpopular sovereignty is “a universal principle ofmankind.” The LDP proposes to delete thislanguage. In contrast, the LDP Preamble beginsby asserting Japan’s unique nature: “Japan is anation with a long history and unique culture,with a tenno who is a symbol of the unity of thepeople….”5
  6. 6. Universal Rights or Traditional Rights?• The United Nations Charter and numerousinternational human rights treaties seek to protectuniversal human rights. Japan has enthusiasticallysupported this system.• The LDP explains its opposition to universal rights:“Rights are gradually formulated through the history,tradition and culture of each community. Therefore,we believe that the provisions concerning human rightsshould reflect the history, culture and tradition ofJapan. The current Constitution includes someprovisions based on the western theory of naturalrights. We believe these provisions should be revised.”(From Q&A # 12)6
  7. 7. Delete Guarantee of FundamentalHuman RightsArticle 97 of the present Constitution provides thispowerful declaration:The fundamental human rights by this Constitutionguaranteed to the people of Japan are fruits of the age-oldstruggle of man to be free; they have survived the manyexacting tests for durability and are conferred upon this andfuture generations in trust, to be held for all time inviolate.The LDP proposes to delete Article 97. In the pamphlet“Draft Reform to Japan’s Constitution, Q & A” released inOctober 2012, there is no explanation for this deletion.7
  8. 8. New Duties for the PeopleLDP proposals would not only reduce human rights protections, theywould also impose new duties on the people, including the following: Duty to “Respect the national flag and national anthem”LDP Proposed Article 3:1) The national flag is the rising sun flag and the national anthem iskimigayo.2) The people must respect the national flag and national anthem.(国旗及び国歌)第三条 国旗は日章旗とし、国歌は君が代とする。2 日本国民は、国旗及び国歌を尊重しなければならない。8
  9. 9. New Duties for the People Duty to “Respect the Constitution”:LDP Proposed Article 102(1):“All of the people must respect this Constitution.”(憲法尊重擁護義務)第百二条 全て国民は、この憲法を尊重しなければならない。 The authority of government officials is limited to powersgranted by the Constitution. Article 99 requires that they“respect and uphold the Constitution.” The people holdsovereign authority. What is the purpose of imposing asimilar duty on the people?9
  10. 10. Article 12“Public Order” vs. Individual Rights• Present Article 12 The freedoms and rights guaranteed to the people bythis Constitution shall be maintained by the constant endeavor of thepeople, who shall refrain from any abuse of these freedoms and rights andshall always be responsible for utilizing them for the public welfare.• LDP Proposed Article 12: The freedoms and rights guaranteed to thepeople by this Constitution shall be maintained by the constant endeavorof the people, who shall refrain from any abuse of these freedoms andrights. They shall be aware that duties and obligations accompanyfreedoms and rights and shall never violate the public order and publicinterest.• (国民の責務)• 第十二条 この憲法が国民に保障する自由及び権利は、国民の不断の努力により、保持されなければならない。国民は、これを濫用してはならず、自由及び権利には責任及び義務が伴うことを自覚し、常に公益及び公の秩序に反してはならない。10
  11. 11. Article 13“Public Order” vs. “Rights to Life, Liberty…”• Present Article 13• All of the people shall be respected as individuals. Their right to life,liberty, and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it doesnot interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme considerationin legislation and in other governmental affairs.• LDP Proposed Article 13:• All citizens shall be respected as persons. Their rights to life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness shall, to the extent that it does notinterfere with the public interest and public order, be the supremeconsideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs.• (人としての尊重等)• 第十三条 全て国民は、人として尊重される。生命、自由及び幸福追求に対する国民の権利については、公益及び公の秩序に反しない限り、立法その他の国政の上で、最大限に尊重されなければならない。11
  12. 12. “Duties and Obligations,”“Public Order”• LDP Article 12: The people “shall be aware that duties andobligations accompany freedoms and rights and shall neverviolate the public order and public interest.…”• What are these “duties and obligations?”• What is the meaning of “public order and public interest”?• LDP partial explanation: “Our use of the term “publicorder” is not intended to mean “prosecute actions againstthe state.” “Public order” here is “social order” (shakaichitsujo); it means peaceful social life (heibon nashakaiseikatsu). There is no question that individuals whoassert human rights should not cause nuisances to others.”(From Q&A # 13)12
  13. 13. New Duty Regarding InformationLDP Proposed New Article 19-2“No person shall improperly acquire, possess or useinformation concerning individuals.”(個人情報の不当取得の禁止等)第十九条の二 何人も、個人に関する情報を不当に取得し、保有し、又は利用してはならない。This is phrased in order to impose another duty on thepeople (“no person”). It raises the question whether thetrue intent is to use this as the basis for new governmentregulation of the news media and other writers.13
  14. 14. New Restriction on Free SpeechPresent Article 21(1) Freedom of assembly and association as wellas speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed.No censorship shall be maintained, nor shall the secrecy of anymeans of communication be violated.LDP Proposes to retain present Article 21(1), but add this NewArticle 21(2):Notwithstanding the foregoing, engaging in activities with thepurpose of damaging the public interest or public order, orassociating with others for such purposes, shall not be recognized.(表現の自由)第二十一条 集会、結社及び言論、出版その他一切の表現の自由は、保障する。2 前項の規定にかかわらず、公益及び公の秩序を害することを目的とした活動を行い、並びにそれを目的として結社をすることは、認められない。14
  15. 15. State of EmergencyLDP proposes a new constitutional power to authorize extraordinarygovernment action when the PM declares a state of emergency.Proposed New Article 98(1) (Declaration of State of Emergency)(1) “In the event of armed attacks on the nation from abroad,disturbances of the social order due to internal strife, etc., large-scalenatural catastrophes due to earthquakes, etc., or other emergencysituations as designated by law, if it is considered especially necessary todo so the Prime Minister may issue a declaration of emergency situationas provided for by law and after putting the matter to the Cabinet.”第九章 緊急事態 (緊急事態の宣言)第九十八条 内閣総理大臣は、我が国に対する外部からの武力攻撃、内乱等による社会秩序の混乱、地震等による大規模な自然災害その他の法律で定める緊急事態において、特に必要があると認めるときは、法律の定めるところにより、閣議にかけて、緊急事態の宣言を発することができる。15
  16. 16. State of EmergencyProposed New Articles 98 (2) (3) (4) provideadditional details, including:-- the Diet could vote to cancel the Declaration-- the Declaration would be effective for up to 100days; the Diet would have to authorize extensionProposed Article 99 describes the effects of suchDeclarations16
  17. 17. State of EmergencyArticle 99 (Effects of Declaration of a State of Emergency)(1) When a declaration of state of emergency has been issued, as provided by lawthe Cabinet may enact cabinet orders having the same effect as laws, and thePrime Minister may make such disbursements and dispositions as are fiscallynecessary and may issue such directives as are necessary to the chief executiveofficers of local government bodies.(2) Cabinet orders and dispositions made under the preceding paragraph must besubsequently approved by the Diet, as [may be] provided for by law.(3) When a declaration of a state of emergency has been issued, all persons mustcomply with the directives of national or other public institutions made inconnection with measures taken to protect the lives, persons or property of thepeople. Even in such cases, Articles 14, 18, 19, 21 and other provisions relating tofundamental rights shall be respected to the greatest extent.(4) When a declaration of a state of emergency has been issued, as [may be]provided by law, the House of Representatives shall not be dissolved while suchdeclaration remains in effect and special dispensations may be established withrespect to the terms of office of the members of both chambers and electiondates.17
  18. 18. State of Emergency(緊急事態の宣言の効果)第九十九条 緊急事態の宣言が発せられたときは、法律の定めるところにより、内閣は法律と同一の効力を有する政令を制定することができるほか、内閣総理大臣は財政上必要な支出その他の処分を行い、地方自治体の長に対して必要な指示をすることができる。2 前項の政令の制定及び処分については、法律の定めるところにより、事後に国会の承認を得なければならない。3 緊急事態の宣言が発せられた場合には、何人も、法律の定めるところにより、当該宣言に係る事態において国民の生命、身体及び財産を守るために行われる措置に関して発せられる国その他公の機関の指示に従わなければならない。この場合においても、第十四条、第十八条、第十九条、第二十一条その他の基本的人権に関する規定は、最大限に尊重されなければならない。4 緊急事態の宣言が発せられた場合においては、法律の定めるところにより、その宣言が効力を有する期間、衆議院は解散されないものとし、両議院の議員の任期及びその選挙期日の特例を設けることができる。18
  19. 19. Japan Civil Liberties Union• To be drafted.• www.jclu.org19
  20. 20. SourcesEnglish version of Japan’s present Constitution:http://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/constitution_and_government_of_japan/constitution_e.htmlJapanese text of the present Constitution: http://law.e-gov.go.jp/htmldata/S21/S21KE000.htmlA complete text of the LDP revision proposals together withbrief commentaries: 日本国憲法改正草案Q&A“Draft Reform to Japan’s Constitution, Q & A”:http://www.jimin.jp/activity/colum/116667.html(This document is the source of all Japanese language textin this presentation.)20

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