Joined United Nations: 18 December 1956
Human Rights as assured by their constitution
Updated 26 December 2012
CHAPTER III: RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE PEOPLE
The conditions necessary for being a Japanese national shall be determined by law.
The people shall not be prevented from enjoying any of the fundamental human rights. These fundamental human rights guaranteed to the
people by this Constitution shall be conferred upon the people of this and future generations as eternal and inviolate rights.
The freedoms and rights guaranteed to the people by this Constitution shall be maintained by the constant endeavor of the people, who
shall refrain from any abuse of these freedoms and rights and shall always be responsible for utilizing them for the public welfare.
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 does
not interfere with the public welfare, be the supreme consideration in legislation and in other governmental affairs.
All of the people are equal under the law and there shall be no discrimination in political, economic or social relations because of race,
creed, sex, social status or family origin. 2) Peers and peerage shall not be recognized. 3) No privilege shall accompany any award of
honor, decoration or any distinction, nor shall any such award be valid beyond the lifetime of the individual who now holds or hereafter
may receive it.
The people have the inalienable right to choose their public officials and to dismiss them. 2) All public officials are servants of the whole
community and not of any group thereof. 3) Universal adult suffrage is guaranteed with regard to the election of public officials. 4) In all
elections, secrecy of the ballot shall not be violated. A voter shall not be answerable, publicly or privately, for the choice he has made.
Every person shall have the right of peaceful petition for the redress of damage, for the removal of public officials, for the enactment,
repeal or amendment of laws, ordinances or regulations and for other matters; nor shall any person be in any way discriminated against
for sponsoring such a petition.
Every person may sue for redress as provided by law from the State or a public entity, in case he has suffered damage through illegal act
of any public official.
No person shall be held in bondage of any kind. Involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime, is prohibited.
Freedom of thought and conscience shall not be violated.
Freedom of religion is guaranteed to all. No religious organization shall receive any privileges from the State, nor exercise any political
authority. 2) No person shall be compelled to take part in any religious acts, celebration, rite or practice. 3) The State and its organs shall
refrain from religious education or any other religious activity.
Freedom of assembly and association as well as speech, press and all other forms of expression are guaranteed. 2) No censorship shall be
maintained, nor shall the secrecy of any means of communication be violated.
Every person shall have freedom to choose and change his residence and to choose his occupation to the extent that it does not interfere
with the public welfare. 2) Freedom of all persons to move to a foreign country and to divest themselves of their nationality shall be
Academic freedom is guaranteed.
Marriage shall be based only on the mutual consent of both sexes and it shall be maintained through mutual cooperation with the equal
rights of husband and wife as a basis. 2) With regard to choice of spouse, property rights, inheritance, choice of domicile, divorce and
other matters pertaining to marriage and the family, laws shall be enacted from the standpoint of individual dignity and the essential
equality of the sexes.
All people shall have the right to maintain the minimum standards of wholesome and cultured living. 2) In all spheres of life, the State shall
use its endeavors for the promotion and extension of social welfare and security, and of public health.
All people shall have the right to receive an equal education correspondent to their ability, as provided for by law. 2) All people shall be
obligated to have all boys and girls under their protection receive ordinary education as provided for by law. Such compulsory education
shall be free.
All people shall have the right and the obligation to work. 2) Standards for wages, hours, rest and other working conditions shall be fixed
by law. 3) Children shall not be exploited.
The right of workers to organize and to bargain and act collectively is guaranteed.
The right to own or to hold property is inviolable. 2) Property rights shall be defined by law, in conformity with the public welfare. 3)
Private property may be taken for public use upon just compensation therefor.
The people shall be liable to taxation as provided for by law.
No person shall be deprived of life or liberty, nor shall any other criminal penalty be imposed, except according to procedure established
No person shall be denied the right of access to the courts.
No person shall be apprehended except upon warrant issued by a competent judicial officer which specifies the offense with which the
person is charged, unless he is apprehended, the offense being committed.
No person shall be arrested or detained without being at once informed of the charges against him or without the immediate privilege of
counsel; nor shall he be detained without adequate cause; and upon demand of any person such cause must be immediately shown in open
court in his presence and the presence of his counsel.
The right of all persons to be secure in their homes, papers and effects against entries, searches and seizures shall not be impaired except
upon warrant issued for adequate cause and particularly describing the place to be searched and things to be seized, or except as provided
by Article 33. 2) Each search or seizure shall be made upon separate warrant issued by a competent judicial officer.
The infliction of torture by any public officer and cruel punishments are absolutely forbidden.
In all criminal cases the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial tribunal. 2) He shall be permitted full
opportunity to examine all witnesses, and he shall have the right of compulsory process for obtaining witnesses on his behalf at public
expense. 3) At all times the accused shall have the assistance of competent counsel who shall, if the accused is unable to secure the same
by his own efforts, be assigned to his use by the State.
No person shall be compelled to testify against himself. 2) Confession made under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged arrest
or detention shall not be admitted in evidence. 3) No person shall be convicted or punished in cases where the only proof against him is
his own confession.
No person shall be held criminally liable for an act which was lawful at the time it was committed, or of which he had been acquitted, nor
shall he be placed in double jeopardy.
Any person may, in case he is acquitted after he has been arrested or detained, sue the State for redress as provided for by law.
Following World War II, The Constitution of Japan was rewritten with the purpose of renouncing "the
horrors of war through the action of government." On 3 November 1946 the Japanese Diet codified the
Constitution in accordance with the conviction that "no nation is responsible to itself alone, but that laws
of political morality are universal." The Rights and Duties of the People are enumerated in Chapter III
following the specifications of the powers of the Emperor and the Renunciation of War and conform with
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Following are those terms specifically related to human
rights. For a full English translation Japan's constitution, click here.