Washington International Law Journal


Article 20 of Japan’s Constitution establishes freedom of religion. To protect this freedom, the provisions of Articles 20 and 89 separate religion from the state to prevent the return of State Shintō. Despite this separation, the Japanese Supreme Court has consistently upheld instances where state entities interact with religious groups. These decisions have raised the ire of numerous academics and legal professionals in and out of Japan who believe that Japan’s constitutional separation requires absolute separation, or at least something more stringent than the Supreme Court has been willing to find. Although this comment rejects the approach taken by the Supreme Court in these cases, it also seeks to rebut the arguments of scholars and professionals opposed to these decisions by reinterpreting these articles in a way that still comports with the results reached in these Supreme Court cases.

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