Reformist Conservatism and Failures of Imagination in Japanese Legal Education

39 Pages Posted: 7 Nov 2005

See all articles by Luke R. Nottage

Luke R. Nottage

The University of Sydney Law School; The University of Sydney - Australian Network for Japanese Law

Abstract

From 1998, significant cuts proposed for Japan's civil service fed through to proposals to turn national universities into more profit-driven and accountable agencies. Combined with broader debates on judicial system reform, this led to a rapidly emerging consensus to establish post-graduate law schools in leading Japanese universities. Unimpressed by the short-sighted reactions to initial policy-makers' proposals along these lines, Part II of this paper first considers what the legal landscape in Japan might look like by 2020, arguing that IT-leveraged transformations in legal practice are likely to require much more far-reaching reforms to Japan's legal education system. Part III then focuses on two particular concerns with most of the reform discussion: (i) adding extra (and costly) years of legal education instead of radical surgery at the undergraduate level, and (ii) focusing on teaching more black-letter law for lawyers, judges and prosecutors, rather than contextual knowledge and skills for a wider range of future legal professionals. These problems are likely to create pressures for more radical reforms over the next decade, and Part IV concludes that more open debate and recent reports may underpin such developments.

Keywords: Legal education, Japan

JEL Classification: K40, I21

Suggested Citation

Nottage, Luke R., Reformist Conservatism and Failures of Imagination in Japanese Legal Education. Asia-Pacific Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 2, pp. 28-65, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=837045

Luke R. Nottage (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

The University of Sydney - Australian Network for Japanese Law

Room 640, Building F10, Eastern Avenue
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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