Supreme Court of Japan

Supreme Court Of Japan

Supreme Court of Japan

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The Supreme Court of Japan (最高裁判所 Saikō-Saibansho; called 最高裁 Saikō-Sai for short), located in Chiyoda, Tokyo is the highest court in Japan. It has ultimate judicial authority to interpret the Japanese constitution and decide questions of national law (including local bylaws). It has the power of judicial review; that is, it can declare Acts of Diet and Local Assembly, and administrative actions, to be unconstitutional.


The first Western-style supreme court in Japan was the Supreme Court of Judicature (大審院 Dai-shin'in) organized by the Ministry of Justice in 1875. This court was composed of 120 judges in both civil and criminal divisions. Five judges would be empaneled for any given case. The criminal division of the court was the court of first instance for crimes against the Emperor (e.g. lèse majesté) and for high crimes against public order.

The statute creating the Court was abolished in 1947, and the modern Supreme Court was formed that year under the constitution of 1946. The new court was first convened in May 1947 in the former Privy Council quarters of the Tokyo Imperial Palace. It moved to the Tokyo District Court building in September, then assumed the former quarters of the Supreme Court of Judicature in October 1949.

In 1974, the Supreme Court moved to its current five-story building at 4-2 Hayabusa-cho, Chiyoda, Tokyo. The building was designed by architect Shinichi Okada and won the Architecture Institute of Japan Prize for...
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