Equality of Men and Women in Article 24 of the Japanese Constitution (1947): The Role of Beate Sirota (1923-2012) and Beyond


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Beate Sirota has been described as the 'heroine of Japanese women's rights', because of her considerable contribution regarding the inclusion of a forceful provision on the rights of women in the new Constitution of Japan formulated in 1947. She performed this task as a member of the Government Section of the Su preme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP), a position held by General Douglas MacArthur. Her role was serendipitous because the US occupying forces did not initially intend to conduct a thorough revision of the Meiji Constitution (1890). Moreover, Sirota was not a constitutional scholar, let alone an expert on the rights of women. However, after she got involved in the drafting of a new con sti tu tion, her intimate knowledge of the position of women in Japanese society due to spending her youth in Japan proved useful. She proposed elaborate and detailed provisions on women's rights (Article 24) in the draft of the new constitution to counter the expected resistance. Since its introduction, the provision has been a firm anchor for the proponents of the emancipation of women in Japan. This paper aims to examine the determining factors and circumstances of Article 24 of the Con sti tu tion of Japan, Sirota's role in its realisation, and the aftermath.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)23-49
Aantal pagina's27
TijdschriftOsaka University Law Review
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusPublished - 1-feb-2022

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