Peace and Justice: The Spirit of Japan's Postwar Constitution
The coronavirus crisis has pushed many to the brink of poverty. A lifeline has been provided by Article 25 of the Japanese Constitution -- the "right to existence," a guarantee of a minimum livelihood. This clause was modeled after Germany's Weimar Constitution. Recently, scholars have begun to reassess the key role of Suzuki Yoshio, who studied the Weimar Constitution before World War II and encouraged Japan to adopt the right to existence early in the postwar era. Forced from his position as a professor for criticizing military training at Japanese schools in 1930, Suzuki became a lawyer and defended numerous intellectuals who were facing political repression. After the war, he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he worked to incorporate newly emerging ideas from around the world into Japan's postwar constitution -- the right to existence of Article 25, the pacifist stance of Article 9 and other provisions. Interviews and dramatic recreations based on the archival record tell the untold story behind the birth of Japan's constitution.