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Original copy of Constitution on display in Tokyo to mark 70th anniversary of charter’s adoption

JIJI

A special exhibition commemorating the 70th anniversary on Wednesday of the enforcement of the nation’s Constitution is being presented at the National Archives of Japan in Tokyo. It features the original copy of Japan’s supreme charter.

The original document is signed by Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, and stamped with his official seal.

About 60 items related to the establishment of the pacifist Constitution are on display, including the New Year’s statement by Emperor Hirohito in 1946 declaring the concept that he was divine to be false.

The admission-free exhibition will run through May 7.

The exhibition also highlights Tokujiro Kanamori, who served as state minister in charge of the Constitution under the government of Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida after World War II. He headed the Legislation Bureau before the war.

Items related to Kanamori that are on show include the English dictionary he used to look up the definition of the term “symbol” and a list of anticipated questions and answers drawn up with senior officials of the Legislation Bureau regarding a draft of the Constitution.

Under the Constitution, drafted by the U.S. Occupation forces after the war, Japan’s emperor is defined as “the symbol of the state and of the unity of the people.”

“The best part (of the exhibition) is that visitors can learn the process of the Constitution being drawn up,” an official of the archives said. “It’s important to leave the records to posterity.”

Separately, the Parliamentary Museum is holding an admission-free exhibition to mark the 70th anniversary of the Constitution’s enforcement through May 30.

The items on display include the original copy of a stenographic record of specific discussions on revisions to the Meiji Constitution at a subcommittee meeting of the Imperial Diet, the predecessor of the current Diet, and a draft revision of the Meiji Constitution submitted to a 1946 session of the Imperial Diet.

Both are open for public viewing for the first time in three years.