May 03, 1947 – New Japanese constitution enacted

May 03, 1947 – New Japanese constitution enacted

Japan’s postwar constitution takes effect. Instead of demanding reparations from Japan after World War II, the United States infused some $2 billion into its economy. Hoping to save the country from a communist takeover, U.S. occupation authorities worked day and night to reconstruct the country along an American model.

When the Japanese government failed to come up with an acceptable constitution, Supreme Commander Douglas MacArthur ordered his young staff to compose the document. Japanese officials accepted the American draft with only minor revisions.

The progressive constitution granted universal suffrage, stripped Emperor Hirohito of all but symbolic power, stipulated a bill of rights, abolished peerage, and outlawed Japan’s right to make war.