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Current Challenges to Japanese Constitutionalism

Sat, June 25, 8:30 to 10:20am, Shikokan (SK), Floor: 1F, 110

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel Proposal Application


This panel addresses the attempt by the Liberal Democratic Party and its leader, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, to revise the Japanese constitution, through examining the history and current exercise of key underlying principles, including rule of law (Komamura), popular sovereignty (George), the intertwining of national sovereignty and territorial control (Seraphim), and citizens’ right to protest (Dudden). The papers will be made available in advance on the website of the joint research project of Keiō University’s Faculty of Law and the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies, Harvard University, co-directed by Komamura and Hardacre. To devote the maximum possible time to audience participation, discussion will begin immediately after panelists’ brief summaries of their papers.
The papers respond directly to the challenge to Japanese constitutionalism posed by the passage in September 2015 of two new security bills recognizing collective self-defense (deploying the military to defend an ally). Prior to this, the Japanese government and the vast majority of constitutional scholars held that article 9 permits individual self-defense (the right of a nation to defend itself against armed attack) but not collective self-defense. The new bills precipitated a legislative crisis and sparked some of the largest protests in postwar history.

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