Washington International Law Journal


Japan's Liberal Democratic Party has advocated many years for constitutional revision, and after attaining a two-thirds majority in both Houses of the Diet in 2017, Prime Minister Shinzō Abe is poised to move forward with that goal. The only hurdles to amending the Constitution of Japan are the amendment procedures stipulated in Article 96. The plain text of Article 96 requires a two-thirds vote in both Houses followed by popular referendum, but it poses no explicit limitations on the scope of any amendment even the amendment process itself is fair game at first glance. Nevertheless, Japanese scholars have claimed that limits must exist to Article 96, lest an amendment destroy the Constitution itself. This Comment seeks to discover whether any such implicit limits exist based on a comprehensive analysis of the text and structure of the current Constitution as well as the Meiji Constitution. In so doing, this Comment attempts to provide a roadmap for Japanese courts to assert the power of judicial review over amendments that would do harm to the core values enshrined in the Constitution.

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