In Print: Volume 88: Number 6
By Shigenori Matsui
88 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1375 (2011)
The Constitution of Japan, enacted on November 3, 1946, and effective as of May 3, 1947, gave the judicial power to the Supreme Court and the inferior courts established by the Diet, the national legislature, and gave the power of judicial review to the judiciary.
Equipped with the power of judicial review, the Japanese Supreme Court was expected to perform a very significant political role in safeguarding the Constitution, especially its Bill of Rights, against infringement by the government. Yet, it has developed a very conservative constitutional jurisprudence ever since its establishment. It has refused to decide many constitutional questions by insisting on rigid threshold requirements for constitutional litigation and has rejected almost all constitutional attacks by accepting the arguments of the government or by paying almost total deference to the judgment of the Diet and the government. It is quite appropriate to claim that the Japanese Supreme Court has developed a very conservative, noninterventionist constitutional jurisprudence.