Education About Asia

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Feature Article, Focus on Japanese Democracy: Part 2

Notions of Rights in the United States and Japan

COMPETING CONCEPTIONS OF RIGHTS Japan and the United States share some of the institutional infrastructure for “rights” such as written constitutions and independent judiciaries. Both countries are liberal democracies, and the US played a key role in remaking Japan’s institutions after World War II. Still, what the term “rights” means differs in the two countries. Japan has inherited competing conceptions of rights from the West at different points in its history. The concept of right...