President's Discourse on the Date of August 15
August 15, 2021
President, Tokyo Bar Association
This year, again, the date of August 15 has come around. In World War II, Japan accepted the Potsdam Declaration, which stipulates full surrender to the Allied Powers, and the "Gyokuon" Broadcasting, in which the Emperor declared it, was released. This day has long taken root among the Japanese people as the Day of the End of War. We must continue the principle of pacifism of the Constitution of Japan and deliver it to the next generation so that "post-war" from 1945 onwards will not be a new "pre-war" concept.
We, lawyers, believe that our mission is to protect fundamental human rights and to realize social justice (Article 1 of the Practicing Attorney Act). We believe that we must balance the protection of fundamental human rights with the realization of social justice. A society that maintains peace is the society that emphasizes human security, enriches the protection of basic human rights, and enables the people to pursue happiness by making the most of their own individuality. For this reason, the bar association has played the role of a guard of human rights and peace, who is sensitive to the restrictions on basic human rights and threats of infringement and sounds a warning to society.
Recently, the need to amend the Constitution to create an "the state of emergency clause" by reason of the COVID-19 outbreak has begun to be advocated. Such state of emergency provision enables the government to concentrate its powers on restricting human rights in emergencies such as war and catastrophes. The danger of abuse of power due to the absence of democratic control by the Diet or judiciary is extremely high, and it is quite different in nature from the "declaration of emergency" under the Act on Special Measures Concerning Measures against Pandemic Influenza and Other Disease (Special Measures Act). In this way, Tokyo Bar Association strongly opposes the state of emergency clause that is highly likely to infringe human rights and undermine pacifism.
Tokyo Bar Association will continue to make constant efforts (Article 12 of the Constitution) to instill the philosophy of the Constitution among the citizens, and will aim to realize a society in which all people can enjoy the "right to live in peace, free from fear and want" (the preamble of the Constitution).