The ABCs of Product Safety Re-Regulation in Japan: Asbestos, Buildings, Consumer Electrical Goods, and Schindler's Lifts
Griffith Law Review, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 242-86, December 2006
46 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2006 Last revised: 20 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 19, 2010
Australia is considering a full-scale Free Trade Agreement with Japan. This gives added importance to the trajectory of Japanese product safety regulations, and consumer law more generally. Generally, Japan has been dismantling ex ante regulation while strengthening private liability regimes, especially information disclosure obligations, over its "lost decade" of economic stagnation since the early 1990s. Yet it has also re-regulated more broadly in response to safety concerns, as evidenced by four recent case studies involving asbestos (for the third time), buildings, electrical goods, and elevators manufactured by a market leader world-wide. This makes Japan converge on a broader pattern identified within "global business regulation," and makes it likely that the nation (like Australia) will revamp general consumer product regulation along recently revised European Union lines. Yet Japan's regulatory mix still diverges from that in several other industrialized democracies, particularly in the prominent roles played by criminal prosecutions and the spectre of state liability.
Keywords: Japanese law, Asian law, comparative law, product safety regulation, product liability
JEL Classification: F15, I18, J28, L15, L80
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation