Pandemic Response without Constitutional Control in Japan and its Paradox

This paper explores the paradox of Japanese law on pandemic response. In Japan, the Constitution played a quite minor role in the pandemic. First, the Constitution does not have an emergency clause. The government's authority to respond to a pandemic is governed by legislation, not by the Constitution. Second, the Constitution does not adopt a federal system. Therefore, the distribution of powers between the national and local governments in a pandemic is also regulated by legislation. Third, the Supreme Court's constitutional jurisprudence leaves broad discretion over restrictions on economic activity to political branches.
The absence of constitutional controls to address emergencies has been thought to invite the concentration and abuse of power. However, as a paradox, this has not been the case in Japan. Various factors can be considered, yet the Japanese case study suggests that we cannot easily predict the consequences of constitutional design in emergencies.