The Development of Comparative Law in Japan
in Reimann, Mathias; Zimmermann, Reinhard, (eds), 'The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Law', Second Edition (Oxford University Press, 2019), pp. 201-227
28 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2018 Last revised: 26 May 2020
Date Written: November 1, 2018
Japan has a long and successful history of carefully investigating and adapting foreign laws to build up its own legal system. Japan has also exported its law, through colonisation in North Asia in the first half of the 20th century, and through legal technical assistance especially in Southeast Asia since the 21st century (as explained in Part II of this paper). Japanese law has also impacted on comparative lawyers from abroad, beginning from the 1960s when Japan’s economy boomed, and continuing from the 1990s as economic stagnation engendered a raft of law reforms (Part III). This has generated a sophisticated comparative law literature and practice related to Japan, which has also influenced contemporary scholarship on other Asian legal systems.
Comparative law research continues to be a cornerstone for most law reform projects within Japan, with academics playing significant roles. However, law reform processes have become more complex over the last two decades, as illustrated in amendments to consumer and civil law as well as corporate governance regimes (Part IV). Further challenges for comparative law studies in Japan arise from persistent pressures on legal academia despite – or perhaps because of – major reforms to legal education introduced in 2004, and linked to an ambitious justice system reform program (Part V).
Keywords: comparative law, Asian law, Japanese law, law reform, private law, consumer law, corporate governance, judicial system, legal education
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation