Transactions of the Japan Academy
Online ISSN : 2424-1903
Print ISSN : 0388-0036
ISSN-L : 0388-0036
The Basis and System of Fundamental Human Rights Guaranteed by the Constitution of Japan
Author information

2022 Volume 76 Issue 2 Pages 185-202


 The concept of human rights (natural rights), which stepped into the limelight of human history in the latter half of the eighteenth century, rapidly disappeared from the limelight in the nineteenth century and was replaced by the legal positivist concept of rights (in Japan, it was strongly advocated at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in the latter half of the nineteenth century but rapidly faded away). After World War I, human rights came to be strongly advocated in the realm of international law, especially in the face of the tyranny of totalitarian regimes, and the United Nations Charter adopted at the San Francisco Conference in June 1945 proclaimed human dignity and respect for human rights. The Potsdam Declaration of July of the same year (accepted by the Japanese government in August) strongly called for “the establishment of respect for human rights.”
 Initially, the Japanese government and people did not take the meaning of this seriously but in February 1946, the General Headquarters strongly demanded that the Constitution stipulate the guarantee of human rights. The Constitution of Japan, which was enacted in the form of an amendment to the Meiji Constitution, sets forth that “the people shall not be prevented from enjoying any of the fundamental human rights” (Article 11) and calls for “the supreme consideration” for “their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (Article 13).(View PDF for the rest of the abstract.)

Content from these authors
© 2022 The Japan Academy
Next article