This course provides a critical introduction to the institutions and actors that comprise the Japanese legal system. Topics covered include the legal profession, constitutional law, formal and informal dispute resolution mechanisms, family law, employment law, and corporate law and governance. Major theoretical debates about the role of law in Japan are examined in connection with each substantive topic. Throughout the course, law is placed in the context of Japanese social, political, and economic institutions. For several weeks during the semester, visiting professors from the University of Tokyo Law School lead the class on topics related to their individual fields of expertise.
All class materials and instruction are in English; Japanese language ability and knowledge of Japan, while helpful, are not prerequisites. Students without a Japan background are frequent and welcome participants in the course. The grade for the course is based on a proctored examination, a short paper, and class performance. Regular class attendance and participation are expected of all students.
NOTE: The textbook is The Japanese Legal System: Cases, Codes and Commentary (Milhaupt, C.J., Ramseyer, J.M., and West, M.D., 2d ed 2012).