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Constitution of the Empire of Japan

On February 11, the 22rd year of Meiji(1889), Constitution of the Empire of Japan was promulgated signed by Prime Minister Kuroda Kiyotaka, ministers of state and President of Privy Council Ito Hirobumi . Under the Constitution, Emperor exercised sovereign power as the head of state. The people were allowed freedom to choose and change residence, creed, speech, publication, assembly and association, secrecy of correspondence, protection of privately owned property and other rights within law. The Imperial Diet was instituted with rights to deliberate (approve) bills and budgets. Judicial power became independent from executive power and separation of powers (of administration, legislation and judicature) was established.

The Imperial rescript ending the War

At a council meeting in presence of the Emperor on August 14, the 20th year of Showa (1945), acceptance of Potsdam Declaration was decided and an Imperial Edict was issued. The Rescript was signed by the Prime Minister Suzuki Kantaro. At noon on following day, August 15, radio broadcast of the Emperor of announcement of Japan of surrender was made and an official notification of Cabinet was read. The notification informed the public that Imperial decision was made and declared determination to regain national dignity, warning against internal strifes and rash, blind actions. Draft Imperial Edict and draft Cabinet notification are contained in Kobun Ruishu Vol. 69 (Various Official Records Compilations)

Constitution of Japan

The Constitution of Japan was enacted in accordance with the amendment procedures stipulated by the Imperial Constitution of Japan. Proposed constitutional amendment, which was passed by the Council was submitted to the 90th Extraordinary Session of the Imperial Diet in June, the 21st year of Showa (1946). After having been amended by House of Peers and House of Representatives, the Imperial Diet passed the Constitution of Japan on October 7 of the same year. Following the approval by the Council on October 29, the Constitution of Japan was promulgated on November3 of the same year. The Constitution of Japan was enforced on May 3,the 22nd year of Showa (1947). It makes the Emperor the symbol of state and has basic principles of sovereign power resides with the people,respect for fundamental human right and pacifism as well as establishment of separation of three powers.

Imperial rescript for drafting of the constitution

In September in the 9th year of Meiji(1876), the emperor issued an Imperial Edict instructing the Genroin (Chamber of Elders), which had been instituted in the previous year, to draft the national constitution. The Imperial Edict evidenced the desire of the Meiji government to enact a constitution at a comparatively early date. The movement for freedom and popular rights was burgeoning, after petition had been made for immediate establishment of representative government in the 7th year of Meiji(1874). The Genroin set up a committee for deliberation on the subject, and submitted a draft entitled "Proposal for the Constitution of Japan" in the 13rd year of Meiji(1880). This draft, however, was not adopted as the actual blueprint, on the grounds that it was not sufficiently in conformance with the national polity. The government instead decided to make full preparations for enactment of the constitution upon issuance of the imperial rescript for establishment of the National Diet in the 14th year of Meiji(1881). "Kobun Fuzoku no Zu" (Picutures and charts affiliated with Kobun Roku )containing this illustration were designated an as National Important Cultural Properties of Japan in the 10th year of Heisei(1998) together with "Kobunroku" (Compiled Records of the Grand Council of State).

Imperial Rescript on Establishment of the National Diet

Imperial Edict issued following political disturbance of 1881. The Rescript called for establishment of National Diet in the 23rd year of Meiji(1890), promulgation of a scheme of Diet organization and authority to be drawn up by government bureaucrats and examined and decided by the Emperor, and other matters.

Imperial Rescript on Establishment of Constitutional Regime

An Imperial Edict issued in April in the 8th year of Meiji(1875). The Imperial Edict envisions establishment of Genroin(Chambers of Elders) as legislative organ, Supreme Court as judicial organ, local administrator council assuming a lower house of the legislative organ, and gradual shift to constitutional polity. "Kobun Fuzoku no Zu" (Picutures and charts affiliated with Kobun Roku )containing this illustration were designated an as National Important Cultural Properties of Japan in the 10th year of Heisei(1998) together with "Kobunroku" (Compiled Records of the Grand Council of State).

A Petition for Establishing a Popularly-Elected Chamber

This is a petition to institute a Diet submitted to government in 1874 by Itagaki Taisuke and 7 other persons. Eight persons including Itagaki Taisuke, Goto Shojiro, Eto Shimpei and Soejima Taneomi, who resigned from government posts at end of 1873 after being defeated in debate over whether Japan should send punitive expedition to Korea, submitted a petition establishing a popularly-elected chamber to the legislative department of Grand Council of State. Petition advocated abolition of autocracy by bureaucrats and establishing a popularly-elected chamber to promptly set a stage to debate State affairs. This petition was carried in newspapers, triggering debates as to when a parliament should be established. It greatly influenced the freedom and people’s rights movement later.