Comparative Politics February 11th, 2010 ? Notes Limitations on Constitutions: Not observed Ambiguous Language -Not specific 3) Develop & change (does / does not) ? flexibility of the document 4) Incomplete 5) Fail ? does not meet needs of people, or it does not reflect the needs of the state -May also fail because a regime may throw it out 6) Other documents How do Constitutions become living documents? -Interpretation -Various views on interpretation -Some want to take language literally -Strict reading of the original word of the document -Relates to the ?intent of the framers? Internal perspective -Some want to observe document in light of external environment -Concerned with political actors and their orientations -Look at actor?s political values, interests, ideologies -Ex. Look at the Supreme Court -Observe judges? ideologies -Observe Supreme Court interaction as a whole -Video: Japan?s Peace Constitution -Japan was, before the war, a militaristic society not a democracy -Drafting a Constitution after the war: -1st draft was rejected no mention of basic rights, militarism, or democracy -U.S. went in a gave Japan a model draft Constitution -Knew Japanese government would never get Constitution it wanted -Research for drafting: -Found that European has social welfare rights for women, but U.S. didn?t -Two drafts were created: several committees handed in proposals -The Japanese people and conservative Japanese government came out with varied Constitutions -MacArthur Constitution: -Widespread public support for document -Many inputs from government and public came in Over 60 years, the Constitution has not been altered at all -America has nothing to do with this -In Korean War, Americans wanted Constitution revised for Japan to enter war, but Japan did not concede to punishment -Article 9 of Japanese Constitution ? Japan cannot wage war -Supported by the public, and MacArthur -Wanted Japan to be a model for peace -Constitution also allowed for women to run for office -Japan has been criticized for not apologizing for aggression during World War II, but apology has been Article 9 -Recap on the Video: -How did Article 9 come into being? -MacArthur and other generals felt Japan?s constitution needed revising -One of the first things they did was bring down power of emperor -Part of this was removing militarism of Japanese government -Parties involved in revising the Constitution: -MacArthur and U.S. generals (U.S. occupation) -Members of the general Japanese population -Did not support authoritarian regime?s decision to go to war -Tired of being at war -Japanese people didn?t have any say in military policy -General population Constitutional reform: -Conservative document -Did not disrupt regime at all still highly militaristic, top-down regime -Conflict over Article 9 -Wanted to create system of defense against other powers in Asia -As new generations are born without memory of war, more people want to revise Article 9 -Article 9?s effect on Japan -Changed the relationship of countries towards Japan (especially other Asian) -Gained trust back other countries suffered greatly at hands of Japan -Domestic relationship (whole revision of the Constitution) -Women were granted some basic rights -Article 9 ? Came to be accepted by Japanese people -International pressure has helped maintain this
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