Constitution of Japan

(1947)

The 1947 Constitution of Japan, enacted following World War II, gave Japan a parliamentary system of government and, under its most famous provision, prohibited acts of war by the state and the use of force to settle international disputes. Japan's unconditional surrender on August 15, 1945, under the terms of the Potsdam Declaration, precipitated the American occupation of Japan after World War II. The Potsdam Declaration specified that the occupation of Japan should result in “a peacefully inclined and responsible government” under “the freely expressed will of the Japanese people.” The 1947 constitution was quickly composed under the direction of General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Allied forces, in the opening years of this occupation, which ended in 1952. MacArthur was unhappy with two drafts of a new constitution proposed by Japanese governmental elites, which he considered mere rewrites of the 1889 Constitution of the Empire of Japan, known as the...

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The young emperor Hirohito (Library of Congress)

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