Introduction: Who Rules Japan?
WHO RULES JAPAN? POPULAR PARTICIPATION IN THE JAPANESE LEGAL PROCESS, L. Wolff, L. Nottage and K. Anderson, eds, Edward Elgar, UK & USA, 2015
18 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2015 Last revised: 17 Aug 2015
Date Written: February 19, 2015
The dramatic growth of the Japanese economy in the post-war period, and its meltdown in the 1990s, generated major reform recommendations in 2001 from the Justice System Reform Council aimed at greater civic engagement with law. This timely new book examines the regulation and design of the Japanese legal system and contributes a legal perspective to the long-standing debate in Japanese Studies: "who governs Japan?".
"Who Rules Japan?" explores the extent to which a new Japanese state has emerged from this reform effort — one in which the Japanese people participate more freely in the legal system and have a greater stake in Japan’s future. Expert contributors from across the globe tackle the question of whether Japan is now a judicial state, upturning earlier views of Japan as an administrative state. The book explores well-known reforms, such as lay participation in criminal justice, but also less well-canvassed topics such as industrial relations dispute resolution, government lawyers, law within popular culture in Japan, and social welfare and the law. The blend of empiricism, policy analysis, theory and doctrine provides a discerning insight into the impact of the law reform initiatives from the Justice System Reform Council.
This introductory chapter from the editors sets the scene, partly by questioning the extent to which the aim of greater popular participation in the Japanese legal process has made the law "of, for and by the people". It ends with summaries of key findings from the following topics addressed by the authors of this volume: Judging Japan’s New Criminal Trials: Early Returns from 2009 (David T. Johnson and Satoru Shinomiya); Popular Participation in Labour Law: The New Labour Dispute Resolution Tribunal (Takashi Araki and Leon Wolff); In Defence of Japan: Government Lawyers and Judicial System Reform (Stephen Green & Luke Nottage); Administering Welfare in an Ageing Society (Trevor Ryan); Reforming Japanese Corrections: Catalysts and Conundrums (Carol Lawson); Competition Law in Japan: The Rise of Private Enforcement by Litigious Reformers (Souichirou Kozuka); When Japanese Law Goes Pop (Leon Wolff).
Keywords: Japanese law, Asian law, comparative law, legal process, law reform, civil justice
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation