Why are Japanese Judges so Conservative in Politically Charged Cases?

American Political Science Review

Posted: 19 Jan 2000

See all articles by Eric Bennett Rasmusen

Eric Bennett Rasmusen

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy

J. Mark Ramseyer

Harvard Law School

Abstract

All judges in Japan, except those on the Supreme Court, become judges at a relatively young age by process of rigorous examination and then spend their career rotating through various positions. Although the judicial system handles its own promotion procedure, this raises the possibility that politics enters into judicial decisions. We look at the quality of postings that some 400 judges received after deciding various politically sensitive kinds of cases. In tobit regressions we find that judges who made decisions favored by the ruling Liberal Democratic Party did better in their careers. Judges who enjoin the national (but not local) government frequently suffer in their careers; so do those who ruled against the government on the constitutionality of the military; so do those who ruled that electoral redistricting was necessary before the LDP itself decided that.

Note: This is a description of the paper and not the actual abstract.

Keywords: Courts, judicial independence, Japan, civil law, administration

JEL Classification: D72, D73, J45, K40

Suggested Citation

Rasmusen, Eric Bennett and Ramseyer, J. Mark, Why are Japanese Judges so Conservative in Politically Charged Cases?. American Political Science Review, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=170787

Eric Bennett Rasmusen (Contact Author)

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy ( email )

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J. Mark Ramseyer

Harvard Law School ( email )

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