In Print: Volume 88: Number 6
By Lawrence Repeta
88 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1713 (2011)
The first Supreme Court appointed under Japan’s present Constitution took office in August 1947. This was during an early stage of the country’s occupation by Allied military forces, just two years from the end of the Great War. The Court was appointed a few months after Japan adopted a revolutionary Constitution that transferred sovereignty from the Emperor to the Japanese people and began to implement numerous legal reforms crafted to conform to the new order.
As the final arbiter of disputes to arise under this Constitution and these laws, the Supreme Court would play a role of incalculable importance in Japan’s evolution as a democratic society. Key features of the Court’s structure were defined by the new Constitution and Courts Act, each of which took effect on May 3, 1947.