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The Constitution of Japan, which was drafted by Americans when Japan was under the Allied Occupation from 1945 to 1952,[1] was strongly influenced by the United States Constitution.  Article 34 of the Constitution has a provision, which relates to habeas corpus.  Article 34 reads: No person shall … be detained without adequate cause; and upon demand of any person such cause must be immediately shown in open court in his presence and the presence of his counsel.[2]  The Habeas Corpus Act was enacted in 1948 during the Occupation.  The purpose of the Act is “to enable the people to recover the liberty of a person actually unlawfully deprived of liberty in a prompt and easy manner through a judicial procedure.”[3]  Further, “[a]ny person whose personal liberty is under restraint without due process of law may apply for relief pursuant to the provisions of this act.”[4]

The United Nations Human Rights Committee criticized Japan because the effectiveness of the remedy for challenging the legality of detention is impaired by the Habeas Corpus Rules.[5]  The Habeas Corpus Rules, which provide rules to implement the Act, “limits the grounds for obtaining a writ of habeas corpus to (a) the absence of a legal right to place a person in custody, and (b) manifest violation of due process.  It also requires exhaustion of all other remedies.”[6

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Prepared by Sayuri Umeda
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
May 2007/ Updated March 2009

Updated by Sayuri Umeda
Senior Foreign Law Specialist
March 2009

  1. ALFRED C. OPPLER, LEGAL REFORM IN OCCUPIED JAPAN 43 (1976). [Back to Text]
  2. Nihonkoku kenpō [Constitution of Japan] (1946), art. 34. [Back to Text]
  3. Jinshin hogo hō [Habeas Corpus Act], Law No. 199 of 1948, art. 1. [Back to Text]
  4. Id. art. 2, para. 1. [Back to Text]
  5. United Nations, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: Japan, CCPR/C/79/Add.102 (Nov. 19, 1998), available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/5a2baa28d433b6ea802566d40041ebbe?Opendocument (external link) (last visited Jan. 14, 2009). [Back to Text]
  6. Id. para. 24; Jinshin hogo kisoku [Habeas Corpus Rule], Supr. Ct. Rule No. 22 of 1948, as amended, art. 4.

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Last Updated: 03/28/2014