What are some of the special characteristics of the Constitution of Japan?
The Constitution of Japan has a preface and 11 chapters containing a total of 103 articles.
Three basic concepts that characterize the Constitution are (1) sovereignty of the people, (2)respect for fundamental human rights, and (3) opposition to war.
Sovereignty of the people, or "popular sovereignty." is the concept that all government powers are based upon the will of the people.
It is associated with the principle that members of parliament will be chosen by the people through elections and will act as their representatives.
Thus, the position of the emperor, who had previously been considered the absolute holder of power, was greatly changed to make him a symbol of the unity of the people.
Respect for fundamental human rights is the concept that each individual's life and freedom are very important and should be protected as much as possible.
The Constitution states that fundamental human rights are "eternal rights which cannot be violated."
To protect these rights and to be sure that they are thoroughly respected, courts are given the right to study and pass judgment on the appropriateness of all laws, an long these three principles, "opposition to war" is a distinctive concept that is not so clearly expressed in the constitutions of most other countries.
The Japanese Constitution clearly states that Japan, in its stance of behaving as a peaceful nation, will not use war as a way to resolve problems between countries and will thus not maintain war-making capabilities.