Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution

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Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution is a clause in the National Constitution of Japan that prohibits an act of war by the state. The Constitution came into effect on May 3, 1947, immediately following World War II. In its text, the state formally renounces war as a sovereign right and bans settlement of international disputes through the use of force. The article also states that, to accomplish these aims, armed forces with war potential will not be maintained, although Japan maintains de facto armed forces, referred to as the Japan Self-Defense Forces.


Text of the article

The full text of the article in Japanese:

二 前項の目的を達するため、陸海空軍その他の戦力は、これを保持しない。国の交戦権は、これを認めない。

The official English translation of the article reads:

Historical background

The failure of the collective security of the League of Nations led to the realization that a universal system of security could only be effective if nations agreed to some limitation of their national sovereignty with regard to their right to belligerence. Like the German Article 24, which was incorporated in the post-war German Constitution, and which provides for delegating or limiting sovereign powers in favor of collective security, Article 9 was added to the Constitution of Japan during the occupation following World War II.

The source of the pacifist clause is disputed. According to the Allied Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur, the provision was suggested by Prime Minister Kijūrō Shidehara, who "wanted it to prohibit any military establishment for Japan—any military establishment whatsoever."[1] Shidehara's perspective was that retention of arms would be "meaningless" for the Japanese in the postwar era, because any substandard postwar military would no longer gain the respect of the people, and would actually cause people to obsess with the subject of rearming Japan.[2] Shidehara admitted to his authorship in his memoirs Gaikō Gojū-Nen (Fifty Years Diplomacy), published in 1951, where he described how the idea came to him on a train ride to Tokyo; MacArthur himself confirmed Shidehara's authorship on several occasions. However, according to some interpretations, he denied having done so,[3] and the inclusion of Article 9 was mainly brought about by the members of Government Section (民政局 Min-Sei-Kyoku?) of Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers (GHQ) (連合国軍最高司令官 Rengō-Koku-Gun-Saikō-Shirei-Kan?), especially Charles Kades, one of Douglas MacArthur's closest associates. The article was endorsed by the Diet of Japan on November 3, 1946. Kades rejected the proposed language that prohibited Japan's use of force "for its own security," believing that self-preservation was the right of every nation.[4]

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