Papers & ReportsMichigan Conference, April 2011
Japanese Constitution in the 21st Century
Over the last decade, there has been renewed consideration of constitutional revision in Japan. The end of the Cold War and two decades of economic malaise have brought into question the viability of Japanese institutions in the 21st century. Political parties have proposed new drafts, the parliament has begun preliminary deliberations, and public support for reform has been trending upwards. Importantly, these initiatives aim to rewrite the entire document, not just make a few amendments. Given the fundamental role of Constitutions in shaping Japanese politics, society, religion, economy, and law, is revision a good idea? And even if it were, what would be the likelihood and impact of any changes?
This conference, hosted at the University of Michigan, brought together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to examine the historical influence and future prospects of the Japanese Constitution. Presentations explored court rulings and political maneuvering on Article 9, administrative regulations on civil society, the role of bicameralism on trade policy, the evolution of conservative constitutional philosophy, public opinion on revision, and cross-national comparisons of constitutional texts.
This conference was made possibly by the generous support of the Center for Japanese Studies, International Institute, Institute for Humanities, and the Rackham Graduate School.
- Kenneth Mori McElwain, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan [co-organizer]
- Rieko Kage, Toyota Visiting Professor, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan [co-organizer]
- Helen Hardacre, Reischauer Institute Professor of Japanese Religions and Society, Harvard University
- John Haley, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School; William R. Orthwein Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus, Washington University in St. Louis, School of Law
- Richard Samuels, Ford International Professor of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Jun Saito, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University
- Chris Winkler, Senior Research Fellow, Social Science Section, German Institute of Japanese Studies Tokyo (DIJ)