The Declaration of Independence in Japanese:
Retranslation Back to English

Partial Retranslation of Fukuzawa Yukichi’s Translation (1866)

When it becomes inevitable for one kin group of people, compelled by the course of events in human life, to leave the government of another nation, to join the rank of the nations of the world and establish a separate nation in accordance with the nature of the of the reason of the physical world and that of the way of heaven, they must explain the reasons for establishing a new nation and let them be known widely by a declaration out of consideration for [other] peoples’ sentiments.
Heaven created all persons in the same rut and endowed them with unremovable rights. These rights are, for instance, rights to preserve one’s own life, to seek liberty and to wish to enjoy happiness, and they cannot be taken away from one by others. The reason to institute governments among persons was to make these rights secure, and a government can truly claim its legitimacy only when it satisfies its subjects. If the measures of a government betray the purpose of instituting governments, the people can alter or abolish it and institute a new government on the basis of this great principle to secure their safety and happiness. This, too, is a right of the people. All of this should be quite evident without our argument. To a timid conservative mind, it may seem that a government established long ago cannot be changed easily and lightly. But when a government repeatedly practices willful usurpations, always making the same people their target, however, such evil practice ought to be stopped. Otherwise, the government will eventually exercise absolutely arbitrary power over the whole country. To abolish such a government and secure the future safety of the people is also their right and duty. …