ASLI Working Paper Series

Publication Title The Emergence of East Asia Constitutionalism: Features in Comparison
Publisher Asian Law Institute
Series WPS006
Publication Date Aug 2009
Author/Speaker Jiunn-Rong Yeh & Wen-Chen Chang
Vibrant constitutional democracies have taken hold in East Asian soil. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan come to mind as successful examples. Scant attention, however, has been placed upon the ways that constitutionalism has been brought into being and developed into distinctive forms in East Asia. This paper seeks to analyze in a descriptive way constitutional developments in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. By studying the three jurisdictions together, this paper discerns a number of common features shared by constitutional developments in them, which include instrumental constitutional state building, textual and institutional continuity, reactive judicial review and a wide range of rights in tune with social and political progress. It contends further that these features developed in East Asian constitutionalism do not merely mirror standard (Western) constitutionalism nor are under shadow of Asian Values or merely in tandem with transitional constitutionalism. The full blossom of East Asian constitutionalism has shed a new light on contemporary constitutionalism and moved itself from periphery to the center of comparative constitutional studies.
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