Nationality Elements of citizenship Aliens and the Constitution

The nationalization of Chapter III

Changes of "people" and "persons" in Japan's 1947 Constitution

By William Wetherall

First posted 23 May 2007
Last updated 15 August 2009

About this table

The following table is an Excel file converted to an html file and selectively cut and pasted into the body of this page. The table is about three screens wide if viewed on a monitor set for 800 by 600 pixels.

1947 Constitution, legend, and notes

The part of the table showing the distribution of "the people" and "persons" in the 1947 Constitution -- and the general legend and notes -- appear on the left-most side of the table. Everything here can be read by scrolling only vertically.

Earlier drafts of constitution

Distributions and notes related to earlier drafts are shown in chronological order to the right of the 1947 Constitution -- beginning with the 13 February 1946 GHQ draft and ending with the colloquialized 17 April 1946 draft the Cabinet submitted to the Diet as a bill. You will have to scroll horizontally to trace changes in these during the course of making these drafts.

Article numbers in earlier drafts

The articles of earlier drafts are numbered as they were in the drafts. However, they have been ordered in the table to correspond with the order of their equivalents in the 1947 Constitution. Guides to the article numbers in the 1947 Constitution have been placed to the left and right of the earlier drafts to facilitate getting one's bearings on the screen.


The nationalization of Japan's 1947 Constitution
Distribution of "the people" and "persons" in articles of Chapter III
Compiled and written by William Wetherall
First posted 23 May 2007, last updated 1 June 2007
Based on scans and transcriptions of National Diet Library documents
1947 Constitution, adopted and promulgated 3 November 1946, enforced from 3 May 1947 1947 13 February 1946 GHQ draft   6 March 1946 pre-colloquialized draft (Cabinet) 15 April second colloquialized draft 17 April draft submitted to Diet 1947   
Rights and duties Japanese English English Japanese Japanese English Before editing After editing
III rights and duties of the people 国民の of the people III III of the people 人民ノ III 国民ノ of the people III 国民の 国民の III 国民の III
10 conditions for being a national 日本国民 a Japanese national 10 Note Similar article (and Chapter title) in 28 February 1946 draft phrased 国民(日本国人) [kokumin (Nihonkokujin)].Article rephrased 日本国民 deleted by 2 March draft then colloquized form restored by Diet revision bill. 10
11 fundamental human rights guaranteed 国民は、国民に the people, to the people 11 9 the people of Japan 日本国ノ人民ハ 10 国民ハ、国民ノ、 the people, to the people 10 国民は、国民に 国民は、国民に 10 国民は、国民に 11
現在及び将来の国民に upon the people of this 10 to the people of Japan 日本国ノ人民ニ 現在及将来ノ国民ニ upon the people of this 現在及び将来の国民に 現在及び将来の国民に 現在及び将来の国民に
and future generations to future generations 将来ノ人民ニ and future generations
12 maintenance of fundamental rights 国民に、国民の、国民は to, of the people, who 12 11 of the people 人民ノ 11 国民ニ、国民ハ to the people, the people 11 国民に、国民の、国民は 国民に、国民の、国民は 11 国民に、国民の、国民は 12
13 respect as individuals すべて国民は、国民の all of the people, their 13 12 all Japanese 一切ノ日本人ハ 12 凡テ国民ノ all of the people 12 すべて国民は、国民の すべて国民は、国民の 12 すべて国民は、国民の 13
14 no discrimination under law [n 1] すべて国民は all of the people 14 13 all natural persons 一切ノ自然人ハ 13 凡ソ人ハ all natural persons 13 すべて国民は すべて国民は 13 すべて国民は 14
del See note to right on fate of first "national origin" and then "nationality". del 13 national origin 国籍起源 del NoteReferences to "national origin" (国籍起源 kokuseki kigen) and "aliens" rephrased as "nationality" (国籍 kokuseki), which was deleted by 6 March draft.rch draft. del
14 no peers or peerage recognized [n 1] 華族その他の貴族の制度は peers and peerage 14 13 no patent of nobility . . . 何人モ貴族・・・ 13 何人ト雖モ華族・・・ no right of peerage . . . 13 華族その他の貴族の制度は 華族その他の貴族の制度は 華族その他の貴族の制度は 14
15 right of universal adult suffrage 国民固有の権利 the people . . . inalienable right 15 14 the people . . . inalienable right 人民ハ・・・不可譲ノ権利 14 国民ハ、権利 the people, inalienable right 14 国民固有の権利 国民固有の権利 14 国民固有の権利 15
16 right of petition and redress 何人も every person, any person 16 15 every person, any person 何人モ 15 何人ト雖モ every person, any person 15 すべて国民は 何人も 15 何人も 16
del See note to right on incorporation of "aliens" protection article into other articles. del 16 aliens [equal protection of law] 外国人ハ del NoteArticle specifically about "aliens" (外国人 gaikokunin) was deleted by 5 March draft when it provisions were subsumed in other articles, including Article 13 [14].ng Article 13 [14]. del
17 right to sue state for redress 何人も every person, any person 17 17
18 no bondage, involuntary servitude 何人も no person 18 17 no person 何人モ 16 何人ト雖モ no person 16 すべて国民は 何人も 16 何人も 18
19 freedom of thought, conscience 19 18 17 17 17 19
20 freedom of religion 何人に対しても、何人も to all, no person 20 19 to all, no person 何人ニモ、何人モ 18 何人ニ対シテモ、何人ト雖モ to all, no person 18 すべて国民に対して、すべて国民は 何人に対しても、何人も 18 何人に対しても、何人も 20
21 freedom of assembly, speech, press 21 20 19 19 19 21
22 freedom to move to foreign country [n 2] 何人も、外国に移住し every person, all persons, move 22 21 to every person, all persons 何人ニモ、何人モ、外国ニ 20 国民ハ凡テ、国民ハ外国ニ every person, of all persons 20 すべて国民は、外国に移住し 何人も、外国に移住し 20 何人も、外国に移住し 22
22 freedom to divest nationality [n 2] 国籍を離脱する foreign country, divest nationality 22 21 emigrate, change nationality 移住シ、国籍ヲ変更スル 20 移住シ、国籍ヲ離脱スル foreign country, nationality 20 国籍を離脱する 国籍を離脱する 20 国籍を離脱する 22
23 academic freedom guaranteed 23 22 21 国民ハ凡テ [ not reflected in English ] 21 21 23
24 marriage by mutual consent 24 23 22 22 22 24
25 right to minimum standards [n 3] すべて国民は all [of the] people 25 24 [ split into current 25 and 26 ] 23 23 23 25
26 right to equal education [n 3] すべて国民は all [of the] people 26 24 国民ハ凡テ every person 24 すべて国民は 何人も すべて国民は 24 すべて国民は 26
27 right to work [n 3] すべて国民は all [of the] people 27 25 all men 何人モ 25 国民ハ凡テ all persons 25 すべて国民は すべて国民は 25 すべて国民は 27
28 right of collective bargaining 28 26 26 26 26 28
29 right to own property 29 27 [ incorporated 28 and 29 ] 27 27 27 29
30 liable to taxation [n 4] 国民は the people 30 30
31 right to life and liberty 何人も no person 31 32 no person, any person [ part of 何人モ 28 すべて国民は 何人も 28 何人も 31
32 right of access to courts 何人も no person 32 this 32 split off as current 32 ] 30 何人ト雖モ、何人モ no person, any person 29 すべて国民は 何人も 29 何人も 32
33 no apprehension without warrant 何人も no person 33 30 no person 何人モ 28 何人ト雖モ no person 30 すべて国民は 何人も 30 何人も 33
34 no arrest without charges 何人も no person 34 31 no person, any person 何人モ 29 何人ト雖モ、何人モ no person, any person 31 すべて国民は 何人も 31 何人も 34
35 no search without warrant 何人も all persons 35 33 the people 人民カ [ ガ ] 31 国民ガ the people 32 国民が 国民が 32 国民が 35
36 torture by public officer prohibited 36 34 [ incorporated 35 ] 32 33 33 36
37 right to speedy public trial 37 36 33 34 34 37
38 testifying against self, confessions 何人も no person 38 38 no person 何人モ 34 何人ト雖モ no person 35 すべて国民は 何人も 35 何人も 38
39 no double jeopardy 何人も no person 39 37 no person [ incorporated 39 ] 何人モ 35 何人ト雖モ no person 36 すべて国民は 何人も 36 何人も 39
40 may sue for redress if acquitted 何人も any person 40 40
Merged articles
Chapter III articles by type Total articles31
Kokumin definition    1 28 of the people [ merged with 27 ] 人民ノ
Kokumin articles    9 29 [ merged with 27 ]
Nanbito articles13 35 [ merged with 34 ]
Other articles    8 39 no person [ merged with 37 ] 何人モ
Legend and notes      
  Unmarked articles have neither "people" (国民 kokumin) nor "persons" (何人 nanbito) as topical subjects.Most of these articles imply "persons" as the topical subject.
  Articles with "people" in GHQ draft (人民 jinmin) and in subsquent drafts (国民 kokumin).
1. 人民 (jinmin) was used to express "people" in Japanese translation of GHQ draft.人民 has been used in East Asia to mean "people" of a specified country since the 19th century.The term is used in both ROC and PRC constitutions.人民之權利義務 (Rights and duties of the people) is the title of chapters in both prewar and postwar Republic of China constitutions.The people of ROC are also called 国民 or "nationals" -- a term reflected in the name of the Nationalist Party (国民党).人民 has been the principle term for "people" as nationals of the People's Republic of China in all of PRC's constitutions, in which 国民 has had very limited use.
2. 国民 (kokumin) replaced 人民 (jinmin) in later Japanese drafts.The term literally means "people affiliated with a country".The affiliation is usually understood to be by possession of nationality, hence the "the people [of a country]" as "nationals".国民 is used in the context of Japanese law as a synonym for 日本国民 (Nihon kokumin), the first word of the 1947 Constitution, which reflects "We, the Japanese people" in the English version."We, the Japanese People" in the GHQ draft was rendered into Japanese as 我等日本国人民ハ (warera Nihonkoku jinmin wa), which was later simplified to just 日本国民は (Nihonkokumin wa).
  Articles that became nationalized from "persons" to "people" during deliberations.
  Articles with "persons" in GHQ draft and unchanged in subsequent drafts.
何人 (も、に対しても) nanbito (mo, ni taishite mo), persons, i.e., people without regard to their nationality
  Articles which became denationalized from "people" to "persons during deliberations.
del Original phrasing "national origin" (国籍起源, kokukseki kigen, lit "nationality origin") and "aliens" (外国人 gaikokujin) deleted during deliberations.
  Articles in the 6 March draft in which the Japanese draft had 国民 ("people") but the English draft had either "persons" (何人) or reflected neither term.
  Articles in the 15 April second colloquialized draft in which 国民 ("people") phrases were expressed as 何人 ("persons") phrases.
Note 1 Article 14 was nationalized when it became clear that 一切ノ自然人ハ (issai no shizenjin wa, "all natural persons") in relation to equality under law, and 何人モ (nanbito mo, "persons") in relation to rights of peerage, to すべて国民は (subete kokumin wa, "the people"), could not include aliens.
1. Equality under law and no discrimination -- Japan could not in principle guarantee such matters for non-nationals under its own laws without implying that possession of an alien nationality is the legal equivalent of possessing Japanese nationality.
2. No peers or peerage recognized -- Nor could Japan legislate titles and privileges of peerage except those of its own nationals -- which at the time, pending nationality settlements, might include peers affiliated with Korea, who were still Japanese nationals.
Note 2 Article 22 represents a case of denationalization that, unlike Articles 23 and 25, makes no sense.
1. Freedom to choose and change residence and choose occupation to extent it does not interfere with public welfare --In fact, the Alien Registration Law places so many conditions on such freedoms for aliens (though fewer for permanent residents) that nationality would appear to be a major factor in what the state regards as interfering with public welfare.
2. Freedom to move to foreign country -- To say that all persons are free to "move to a foreign country" (changed from "emigrate" in nationalized GHQ article) is to suggest thatthe intended subject is a Japanese national if not a stateless person.A person's nationality in relation to the country to which the person would like to move would be a significant factor in determining whether the person is in fact free to move from Japan to another country -- all other factors being equal.
3. Freedom to divest nationality inviolate -- This, too, must have been intended to apply only to those who possess Japanese nationality, for Japan has no legal authority over the nationalities of other states.Hence Japan cannot guarantee the freedom of an alien to renounce his or her nationality.Moreover, Japan does not in practice allow its own nationals to renounce their Japanese nationality unless they also possess the nationality of a foreign entity that Japan recognizes as a state -- for to do so would leave the person stateless in Japan's eyes, and Japan has the both the right and the obligation to avoid creating statelessness.
Note 3 Articles 25-27 were nationalized when it became clear that Japan was not obliged by international law to extend guantees of welfare, education, and work to aliens.
Article 25 Welfare -- Aliens are now, however, allowed to participate in National Health Insurance, National Pension, and other such programs, and may be qualified for various forms of welfare including poverty relief, depending on their legal status.Permanent residents generally qualify for all programs available to Japanese, though there is some variation among prefectural and municipal politics, which have certain administrative prerogatives.
Article 26 Education -- In principle, Japan allows alien children to attend public schools, though admissions practices vary locally.Now and then a school principal will refuse to admit an alien child because the principal feels the school is unable to accommodate the child's needs.Some principals have exercised similar prerogatives to refuse to admit Japanese students with handicaps and other issues they feel their school cannot address.
Article 27 Work -- The freedom and obligation to work is more obviously something Japan cannot unconditionally guarantee aliens.In principle, only aliens who are permitted to permanently reside in Japan are free to work in the country without specific permission.All other aliens who are legally domiciled in Japan are allowed to work only with permission, and only in the jobs for which they are permitted to work.They may apply for permission to change their employer, but the state has the prerogative to refuse to grant permission.Moreover, non-permanent resident aliens who willfully change their employment without permission are subject to deportation.