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Encyclopedia > Japanese law

Japanese law was historically heavily influenced by Chinese law and developed independently during the Edo period through texts such as Kujikata Osadamegaki, but has been largely based on the civil law of Germany since the late 19th century. The Law of China, for most of the history of China, was rooted in the Confucian philosophy of social control. ... The following text needs to be harmonized with text in the article History of Japan#Edo Period. ... Kujikata Osadamegaki (公事方御定書, lit. ... Civil law or continental law is the predominant system of law in the world, with its origins in Roman law, and sets out a comprehensive system of rules, usually codified, that are applied and interpreted by judges. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Sources of law

The Diet is Japan's national legislature, responsible for enacting new laws.
The Diet is Japan's national legislature, responsible for enacting new laws.

Statutory law originates in Japan's legislature, the National Diet of Japan, with the rubber-stamp approval of the Emperor. Under the current constitution, the Emperor may not veto or otherwise refuse to approve a law passed by the Diet. Image File history File links The_Diet. ... Image File history File links The_Diet. ... A legislature is a type of representative deliberative assembly with the power to adopt laws. ... The National Diet of Japan (国会 kokkai) is Japans legislature. ... For the CPR ocean liner, see Empress of Japan. ...

Six Codes

The main body of Japanese statutory law is a collection called the Six Codes (六法 roppō). The six codes referred to are:

  1. the Civil Code (民法 Minpō, 1896)
  2. the Commercial Code (商法 Shōhō, 1899)
  3. the Criminal Code (刑法 Keihō, 1907)
  4. the Constitution of Japan (日本国憲法 Nippon-koku-kenpō, 1946)
  5. the Code of Criminal Procedure (刑事訴訟法 Keiji-soshō-hō, 1948)
  6. the Code of Civil Procedure (民事訴訟法 Minji-soshō-hō, 1996)

Legislation in Japan tends to be terse. The statutory volume Roppō Zensho, similar in size to a desk dictionary, contains all six codes as well as the other statutes enacted by the Diet. This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ... The Criminal Code (刑法 Keihō) of Japan was passed in 1907 as Law No. ... The Constitution of Japan has been the founding legal document of Japan since 1947. ...

Administrative guidance

While Japanese government agencies generally issue formal regulations for the implementation of statutes, they have very limited formal regulatory power in the absence of Diet legislation. However, when dealing with businesses, they often issue "directions," "requests," "warnings," "encouragements," and "suggestions," with the implication that noncompliant parties will be obstructed by the agency in the future by receiving poorer quotas or less government aid. The Cold War-era Ministry of International Trade and Industry was especially well-known for this practice, generally known as "administrative guidance" (gyōsei shidō). The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (通商産業省 Tsūsho-sangyō-shō or MITI) was the single most powerful agency in the Japanese government during the 1950s and 1960s. ...


While Japan has a civil law system and thus technically no binding value to judicial decisions, the precedents of the Supreme Court and the High Courts are commonly referred to and cited as persuasive precedent. Civil law has at least three meanings. ...

Civil law


Japanese contract law is based mostly on the Civil Code, which defines the rights and obligations of the parties in general and in certain types of contract, e.g. "mandate contracts", "bailment contracts" etc. Thus, the parties need not restate these statutory presumptions. As a matter of practice, contracts in Japan tend to contain very little detail, with the parties working out complications as they arise. Japanese contract law was heavily influenced by the German BGB and is therefore part of the civil law legal system. A contract is a legally binding exchange of promises or agreement between parties. ... This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ... Publication in the Reich Law Gazette on August 24, 1896 The Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch (or BGB) is the civil code of Germany. ... Civil law or continental law is the predominant system of law in the world, with its origins in Roman law, and sets out a comprehensive system of rules, usually codified, that are applied and interpreted by judges. ...


Japan's tort system sees considerably less activity than tort systems in North America. Arguably, one reason for this is that damages are computed conservatively based on the plaintiff's proven expenses and losses, with only a small additional component for non-economic "pain and suffering". There is no system of pre-trial discovery, thus making it difficult for a plaintiff to establish causation. Because Japan does not use juries, judges decide the outcome of cases, and are usually not easy to sway emotionally. Attorneys' fees are based on the amount of damages sought in the suit, not the actual damages won. As a result of these factors, many individuals choose not to sue when their odds of winning seem low, and when they do sue, they tend to sue for small amounts of damages. Tort is a legal term that means civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong, that is recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit. ... In law, discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party through the law of civil procedure can request documents and other evidence from other parties or can compel the production of evidence by using a subpoena or through other discovery devices, such as requests for... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Like several other civil law states, Japan places a great emphasis on the rights of the tenant, and landlords are generally not allowed to unilaterally terminate leases without "just cause," a very narrowly construed concept. Many landlords are forced to "buy out" their tenants if they wish to demolish buildings to make way for new development: one well-known contemporary instance is the Roppongi Hills complex, which offered several previous tenants special deals on apartments. In many cases, however, tenants' rights are circumvented by concluding leases in the name of the actual tenant's employer. A tenant (from the Latin tenere, to hold), in legal contexts, holds real property by some form of title from a landlord. ... Roppongi Hills Roppongi Hills ) is one of Japans largest integrated property developments, located in the Roppongi district of Tokyo. ...

Despite this emphasis on tenant rights, the government exercises a formidable eminent domain power and can expropriate land for any public purpose as long as reasonable compensation is afforded. This power was famously used in the wake of World War II to dismantle the estates of the defunct peerage system and sell their land to farmers at very cheap rates (one historical reason for agriculture's support of LDP governments). Narita International Airport is another well-known example of eminent domain power in Japan. Eminent domain (U.S.), compulsory purchase (United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland), resumption (Australia) or expropriation (Canada, South Africa) in common law legal systems is the inherent power of the state to expropriate private property, or rights in private property, without the owners consent, either for its own use or... Combatants Allied Powers Axis Powers Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000,000 Total dead: 50,000,000 Military dead: 8,000,000 Civilian dead: 4,000,000 Total dead 12,000,000 World War II (abbreviated WWII), or the Second World War, was a worldwide conflict... The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), also known as Jiyū Minshutō (自由民主党, more often abbreviated to Jimin-tō 自民党) is the largest Japanese political party as of 2004. ... Narita International Airport ) (IATA: NRT, ICAO: RJAA) is an international airport located in Narita, Chiba, Japan, in the eastern portion of the Greater Tokyo Area. ...

Corporate law

Japan's current corporate law is based upon the Corporations Code implemented in 2006.

Under Japanese law the basic types of companies are:

Directors' duties and shareholder liability rules generally follow American precedent. Business corporation ) is a type of corporation ) defined under Japanese law. ... A gōdō kaisha (合同会社), abbreviated GDK, is a type of business organization in Japan modeled after the American limited liability company (LLC). ... A limited liability company (denoted by L.L.C. or LLC) is a legal form of business company in the United States offering limited liability to its owners. ... A limited partnership is a form of partnership similar to a general partnership, except that in addition to one or more general partners (GPs), there are one or more limited partners (LPs). ... This article needs to be wikified. ... A limited liability partnership (LLP) is a form of business organization combining elements of partnerships and corporations. ...

Criminal law

Japanese criminal sentencing, 1994
7–10 years in prison
3 years at hard labor
3–5 years in prison
5–7 years in prison
Other sentences
103 (20%)
96 (19%)
94 (18%)
88 (17%)
133 (26%)
¥100–200,000 fine
¥200–300,000 fine
¥300–500,000 fine
1–2 years at hard labor
6–12 months at hard labor
6–12 months in prison
1–2 years in prison
Other sentences
4130 (38%)
2084 (19%)
1161 (11%)
857 (8%)
571 (5%)
541 (5%)
512 (5%)
1064 (9%)
Drug offenses
1–2 years at hard labor
1–2 years in prison
2–3 years in prison
Other sentences
3,894 (36%)
3,490 (32%)
1,791 (17%)
1591 (15%)

See: Criminal justice system of Japan 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal by United Nations. ... Three basic features of Japans system of criminal justice characterize its operations. ...

In comparison to other countries in the developed world, Japan has a unique prosecutorial system. Ninety-nine percent of criminal defendants are convicted in Japan, and almost all are convicted following their own confession. Prosecutors tend to bring charges only when they have a signed confession from the accused, and such confessions often occur after long questioning by police. Although defendants have a right to counsel, it is generally not possible for them to obtain counsel between their arrest and indictment. This makes it difficult to judge the true extent of criminal activity in Japan, since many possible criminals refuse to confess and are thus never indicted. The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... In the common law legal system, an indictment (IPA: ) is a formal charge of having committed a most serious criminal offense. ...

Japan has a death penalty that can be invoked by the Minister of Justice for murder, arson, and crimes against humanity. The death penalty's constitutionality has been challenged by some advocacy groups in Japan but continues to be upheld by the Supreme Court. There are five other basic forms of criminal punishment in Japan: imprisonment at hard labor, imprisonment, fine, detention (less than 30 days), and minor fine (less than ¥10,000). Japan has been criticized for giving lenient punishments for some crimes, most notably rape (which carries a typical sentence of 2–5 years in prison, and a theoretical maximum of fifteen). Capital punishment (日本における死刑) is legal in Japan as of 2006. ... The Skyline Parkway Motel in Afton, Virginia after an arson fire on July 9, 2004. ... This article is in need of attention. ...

Note: The penalties in the Criminal Law were revised and reinforced in 2004. Therefore, the lower limit of the penalty of rape is now three years in prison, with a theoretical maximum of twenty.

Intellectual property

See: Japanese copyright law, Japanese patent law, and Japanese trademark law Japanese copyright laws consist of two parts: Authors Rights, and Neighboring Rights, and as such, copyright is a convenient collective term rather than a single concept in Japan. ... Japanese patent law is based on the first-to-file principle and is mainly given force by the Patent Act (特許法 Tokkyohō) of Japan which consists of 204 articles. ... Japanese trademark law is mainly enacted by the Trademark Act ) of 1959. ...

Family law

See: Family law in Japan Japanese family law is based on European civil law and Chinese Confucian principles. ...

Employment law

See: Japanese employment law // Under the Civil Code, a contract in which one person performs services for another with compensation may be construed as any one of the following: In an employment agreement ), the object is the completion of labor under the employing partys direction. ...

Law enforcement

The main law enforcement agency in Japan is the National Police Agency (警察庁 Keisatsuchō), which reports to the prime minister. Most day-to-day policing is carried out by prefectural police, which report to prefectural governors. Administrative law enforcement duties are carried out by inspection departments of the various cabinet ministries. The National Police Agency (警察庁 Keisatsucho) is the central coordinating body of the Japanese police system. ...

Legal professions

Japan recognizes a number of legal professions. While Japan is often said to have dramatically fewer lawyers than other countries such as the United States, the total proportion of legal specialists in both countries is about the same. The Japanese government has also been taking steps in recent years to increase the number of legal professionals nationwide.

The major professions, each of which has a separate qualification process, include:

In-house legal advisors at major corporations are almost entirely unregulated, although there has been a trend in the past decade towards attorneys moving in-house. Attorneys at law , lit. ... Attorneys at foreign law , also known as gaiben) are lawyers from foreign countries licensed to practice law in Japan. ... Judicial scriveners ), also known as shiho-shoshi lawyers, form a legal profession in Japan. ... Administrative scriveners ), also known as gyosei-shoshi lawyers, form a legal profession in Japan. ... Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) are qualified accountants in the United States who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional state education and experience requirements for certification as a CPA. In most U.S. states, only CPAs who are licensed are able to provide to the... Benrishi (弁理士) is a Japanese quasi-legal profession specifically licensed to practice intellectual property law. ... An Embossed Notary Seal. ...

Courts and procedure

See: Judicial system of Japan In the Judicial System of Japan, the postwar constitution guarantees that all judges shall be independent in the exercise of their conscience and shall be bound only by this constitution and the Laws (Article 76). ...

Japan's court system is divided into four basic tiers, 438 Summary Courts, one District Court in each prefecture, nine High Courts and the Supreme Court. There is also one Family Court tied to each District Court. The Supreme Court of Japan (最高裁判所, Saikō-Saibansho; shortly called 最高裁, Saikō-Sai), located in Chiyoda, Tokyo is the highest court in Japan. ...

Further reading

  • Port and McAlinn, Comparative Law: Law and the Legal Process in Japan (Carolina Academic Press, 2003), ISBN 0-89089-464-7
  • Milhaupt et al., Japanese Law in Context: Readings in Society, the Economy, and Politics (Harvard, 2001), ISBN 0-674-00519-8
  • Oda, Japanese Law (Oxford, 2001), ISBN 0-19-924810-9
  • Ramseyer and Nakazato, Japanese Law: An Economic Approach (Chicago, 2000), ISBN 0-226-70385-1
  • Oda, Basic Japanese Laws (Oxford, 1997), ISBN 0-19-825686-8
  • Haley, Authority Without Power: Law and the Japanese Paradox (Oxford, 1994), ISBN 0-19-509257-0

See also

World distribution of major legal traditions The four major legal systems of the world today consist of civil law, common law, customary law, and religious law. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article describes the structure of the Japanese Government. ... The following text needs to be harmonized with text in the article Japan#Government and politics. ...

Specific laws

[New (2006) Corporations Law]http://www.japancompany.info/law/contents.htm] Jōyu (上諭) - The Emperors words (1) The Constitution of the Empire of Japan ), more commonly known as the Imperial or Meiji Constitution, was the fundamental law of the Empire of Japan from 29 November 1889 until 2 May 1947. ... The Local Autonomy Law (地方自治法 Chihō-jichi-hō) of Japan was passed as Law No. ... The Peace Preservation Law (Japanese: 治安維持法; Chian-ijihô) was a Japanese law passed in 1925 as a mechanism for the royal family to entrench itself against a growing left wing. ... The Railway Construction Act (鉄道敷設法 Tetsudô Fusetsu-hô, Law No. ... The Railway Nationalization Act (鉄道国有法 Tetsudô Kokuyû-hô, Law No. ...

Case law

International Family Law

  • Sweden v. Yamaguchi (Lagerfeld v. Yamaguchi)
  • English summaries of important family law related cases

, otherwise known as in the matter of Marianne Wilson, or in the matter of Mary Ann Vaughn, is a highly complex decision in international family law which touches on questions in law still unresolved over fifty years later. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Japanese law - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1626 words)
Japanese law was historically heavily influenced by Chinese law and developed independently during the Edo period through texts such as Kujikata Osadamegaki, but has been largely based on the civil law of Germany since the late 19th century.
Like several other civil law states, Japan places a great emphasis on the rights of the tenant, and landlords are generally not allowed to unilaterally terminate leases without "just cause," a very narrowly construed concept.
Graduate Law schools have emerged in Japan in the last few years, and the LRTI admissions process will be altered from 2006 so that only law school graduates, or graduates in other fields who complete a preliminary examination, will be allowed to take the exam.
Japanese Dual Citizenship Issues (1854 words)
Fujimori was a bi-national before the new law and wasn't required to officially choose the Japanese nationality and renounce his other one.
In that case, a person, who has lost Japanese nationality because nationality retention is not submitted will not be able to re-acquire Japanese nationality unless he/she is domiciled in Japan before coming of age, and a notification of nationality acquisition is submitted to the Minister of Justice (Article 17, Paragraph 1).
Then, at the end of 1997, the Nationality Law in South Korea was revised, and as a result, it was stipulated that if either one of their parents were Korean, children born on or after the day the revised law was enforced (June 14, 1998), automatically acquired Korean nationality.
  More results at FactBites »



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