Washington Law Review


Some writers find a reflection of the due process clauses of the fifth and fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution in Article 31 of the 1946 Japanese Constitution. Article 31 provides: "No person shall be deprived of life or liberty, nor shall any other criminal penalty be imposed, except according to procedure established by law." Obviously there are disparities as well as similarities between this article and the American due process clauses. Since the Japanese Constitution was framed under the direction of the Supreme Command Allied Powers (SCAP), during the allied occupation, the similarities are not surprising. Many of those articles reflect other provisions of the American Bill of Rights. Consequently, the natural surmise is that Article 31 of the Japanese Constitution is derived from the due process clauses of the United States Constitution. Nevertheless, even if one clause is derived from the other, there are reasons for questioning whether their meanings are therefore substantially the same. The differences in wording are significant. But more important is the divergent historical development of the two provisions.

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