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(February 11, 1889)



ARTICLE 1. The Empire of Japan shall be reigned over and governed by a line of emperors unbroken for ages eternal.

Art. 2. The imperial throne shall be succeeded to by imperial male descendants, according to the provisions of the Imperial House Law.

Art. 3. The Emperor is sacred and inviolable.

Art. 4. The Emperor is the head of the Empire, combining in himself the rights of sovereignty, and exercises them, according to the provisions of the present constitution.

Art. 5. The Emperor exercises the legislative power with the consent of the Imperial Diet.

Art. 6. The Emperor gives sanction to laws, and orders them to be promulgated and executed.

Art. 7. The Emperor convokes the Imperial Diet, opens, closes, and prorogues it, and dissolves the House of Representatives.

Art. 8. The Emperor, in consequence of an urgent necessity to maintain public safety or to avert public calamities, issues, when the Imperial Diet is not sitting, imperial ordinances in the place of laws.

Such imperial ordinances are to be laid before the Imperial Diet at its next session, and when the Diet does not approve the said ordinances, the government shall declare them to be invalid for the 'future. Art. 9. The Emperor issues, or causes to be issued, the ordi

nances necessary for the carrying out of the laws, or for the maintenance of the public peace and order, and for the promotion of the welfare of his subjects. But no ordinance shall in any way alter any of the existing laws.

ART. 10. The Emperor determines the organization of the different branches of the administration, and the salaries of all civil and military officers, and appoints and dismisses the same. Exceptions especially provided for in the present constitution or in other laws shall be in accordance with the respective provisions (bearing thereon).

Art. 11. The Emperor has the supreme command of the army

and navy.

Art. 12. The Emperor determines the organization and peace standing of the army and navy.

Art. 13. The Emperor declares war, makes peace, and concludes treaties.

Art. 14. The Emperor proclaims a state of siege.

The conditions and effects of a state of siege shall be determined by law.

Art. 15. The Emperor confers titles of nobility, rank, orders, and other marks of honor.

Art. 16. The Emperor orders amnesty, pardon, commutation of punishment, and rehabilitation.

Art. 17. A regency shall be instituted in conformity with the provisions of the Imperial House Law.

The regent shall exercise the powers appertaining to the Emperor, in his name.



Art. 18. The conditions necessary for being a Japanese subject shall be determined by law.

Art. 19. Japanese subjects may, according to qualifications determined in laws or ordinances, be appointed to civil or military offices equally, and may fill any other public offices.

Art. 20. Japanese subjects are amenable to service in the army or navy, according to the provisions of law.

Art. 21. Japanese subjects are amenable to the duty of paying taxes, according to the provisions of law.

ART. 22. Japanese subjects shall have the liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits of law.

Art. 23. No Japanese subject shall be arrested, detained, tried, or punished, unless according to law.

Art. 24. No Japanese subject shall be deprived of his right of being tried by the judges determined by law.

ART. 25. Except in the cases provided for in the law, the house of no Japanese subject shall be entered or searched without his consent.

Art. 26. Except in the cases mentioned in the law, the secrecy of the letters of every Japanese subject shall remain inviolable.

Art. 27. The right of property of every Japanese subject shall remain inviolable.

easures necessary to be taken for th public benefit shall be provided for by law.

Art. 28. Japanese subjects shall, within limits not prejudicial to peace and order, and not antagonistic to their duties as subjects, enjoy freedom of religious belief.

Art. 29. Japanese subjects shall, within the limits of law, enjoy the liberty of speech, writing, publication, public meeting, and association.

ART. 30. Japanese subjects may present petitions, by observing the proper forms of respect, and by complying with the rules specially provided for the same.

Art. 31. The provisions in the present chapter shall not affect the exercise of the powers appertaining to the Emperor, in times of war or in cases of national emergency.

Art. 32. Each and every one of the provisions contained in the preceding articles of the present chapter, that are not in conflict with the laws or rules and discipline of the army and navy, shall apply to the officers and men of the army and navy.



Art. 33. The Imperial Diet shall consist of two houses, a House of Peers and a House of Representatives.'

* The internal organization of the two houses is regulated by the law of the Houses, of February 11, 1889, By Art. 3 of this law it is provided that “the president and vice-president of the House of Repre

Art. 34. The House of Peers shall, in accordance with the ordinance concerning the House of Peers, be composed of the members of the imperial family, of the orders of nobility, and of those persons who have been nominated thereto by the Emperor.

Art. 35. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members elected by the people, according to the provisions of the election law."

ART. 36. No one shall at one and the same time be a member of both houses.

ART. 37. Every law requires the consent of the Imperial Diet.

Art. 38. Both houses shall vote upon projects of law submitted to them by the government, and may respectively initiate projects of law.

Art. 39. A bill, which has been rejected by either the one or the other of the two houses, shall not be again brought in during the same session.

ART. 40. Both houses may make representations to the government as to laws or upon any other subject. When, however, such representations are not accepted, they cannot be made a second time during the same session.

Art. 41. The Imperial Diet shall be convoked every year.

ART. 42. A session of the Imperial Diet shall last during three months. In case of necessity, the duration of a session may be prolonged by imperial order.

Art. 43. When urgent necessity arises, an extraordinary session may be convoked, in addition to the ordinary one.

The duration of an extraordinary session shall be determined by inperial order.

ART. 44. The opening, closing, prolongation of session, or prorogation of the Imperial Diet shall be effected simultaneously for both houses.

sentatives shall both of them be nominated by the Emperor from among three candidates respectively elected by the House of each of those offices."

1 The election law of 1889 was amended in 1900. At present the right to vote is enjoyed by male subjects twenty-five years of age, who have resided in the election district for one year, and pay a tax of ten yen (about five dollars). Before 1900 the tax qualification was fifteen yen. On account of the relative poverty of the people the present tax qualification limits the suffrage to a small proportion of the adult male population. In general all male subjects thirty years of age are eligible as representatives; the representatives are chosen in single election districts.

In case the House of Representatives has been ordered to dissolve, the House of Peers shall at the same time be prorogued.

Art. 45. When the House of Representatives has been ordered to dissolve, members shall be caused by imperial order to be newly elected, and the new House shall be convoked within five days from the day of dissolution.

Art. 46. No debate shall be opened and no vote shall be taken in either house of the Imperial Diet, unless not less than one-third of the whole number of the members thereof is present.

Art. 47. Votes shall be taken in both houses by absolute majority. In the case of a tie, the president shall have the casting vote.

ART. 48. The deliberations of both houses shall be held in public. The deliberations may, however, upon demand of the government or by resolution of the house, be held in secret sitting.

ART. 49. Both houses of the Imperial Diet may respectively present addresses to the Emperor.

Art. 50. Both houses may receive petitions presented by the subjects.

Art. 51. Both houses may enact, besides what is provided for in the present constitution and in the Law of the Houses, rules necessary for the management of their internal affairs.

Art. 52. No member of either house shall be held responsible outside the respective houses, for any opinion uttered or for any vote given in the house. When, however, a member himself has given publicity to his opinions by public speech, by documents in print or in writing, or by any other similar means, he shall, in the matter, be amenable to the general law.

Art. 53. The members of both houses shall, during the session, be free from arrest, unless with the consent of the house, except in cases where taken in flagrante delicto, or of offenses connected with a state of internal commotion or with a foreign trouble.

Art. 54. The ministers of state and the delegates of the government may, at any time, take seats and speak in either house.



Art. 55. The respective ministers of state shall give their advice to the Emperor, and be responsible for it.

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