Washington International Law Journal


Amelia S. Kegan


Article 25 of the Showa Constitution guarantees everyone in Japan a minimum standard of “wholesome and cultured living.” Contrary to the force originally envisioned by the Constitution’s framers, the Supreme Court of Japan has interpreted the provision as merely a programmatic declaration that guides the legislature rather than as an enforceable right under which an individual may sue. As a result, individuals cannot seek relief from the judiciary for Article 25 violations. The Supreme Court should recognize Article 25 also as a negative, concrete right, allowing individuals to seek judicial relief when the government fails to appropriately apply laws intended to promote the public’s ability to maintain a “minimum standard of living.”

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