The Changing Role of Law in Japan

Empirical Studies in Culture, Society and Policy Making

Edited by Dimitri Vanoverbeke, Professor and Director, Department of East Asian and Arabic Studies, KU Leuven, Belgium, Jeroen Maesschalck, Professor of Criminology, Faculty of Law, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium, David Nelken, Distinguished Professor of Legal Institutions and Social Change, University of Macerata, Italy and Professor of Comparative and Transnational Law, King’s College London, UK and Stephan Parmentier, Professor of Sociology of Crime, Law, and Human Rights, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium

The Changing Role of Law in Japan offers a comparative perspective on the changing role of law in East Asia, discussing issues such as society, cultural values, access to the legal system and judicial reform. This innovative book places Japan in the wider context, juxtaposed with Europe, rather than the US, for the first time.

‘The role of culture in the operation of Japanese law is one of the great questions of sociolegal studies. Discussions tend to polarize, between a simplistic view of cultural determinism and a more universalist approach that emphasizes institutions. This superb collection, with a diverse and accomplished set of contributors, takes culture seriously. It shows how legal institutions have both shaped and been shaped by Japanese legal culture. A state-of-the art assessment of Japanese law after more than a decade of reforms, this book is a must for anyone interested in understanding legal culture more broadly.’
–Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago Law School, US

‘The Changing Role of Law in Japan is a path-breaking work of comparative legal scholarship, offering a fresh and compelling perspective on the Japanese legal system that makes it essential reading for anyone interested in the role of law in industrialized democracies. The editors present a convincing case for putting a dynamic conception of culture at the heart of comparative legal studies, while simultaneously demonstrating the wisdom of comparing Japanese law and legal institutions to their European rather than their American counterparts. This is a volume that will be read, and debated, for years to come.’
– Eric A. Feldman, University of Pennsylvania Law School, US

‘The Changing Role of Law in Japan is an outstanding collection of articles that investigate how and why the law in action has evolved (and sometimes has been maintained in spite of institutional or social changes) in Japanese society. This volume addresses various topics, including civil litigation, alternative dispute resolution, criminal justice, business and economic law, administrative process, and the legal profession. Furthermore, it comprises 15 articles contributed by legal and sociolegal scholars across the world. These facts serve to indicate that readers will definitely gain new perspectives on the Japanese legal system.’
– Social Science Japan Journal

2014 296 pp Hardback 978 1 78347 564 3 £100.00 £90.00 $145.00 $130.50

Elgaronline 978 1 78347 565 0

Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. is registered in the UK at: The Lypiatts, 15 Lansdown Road,
Cheltenham, Glos GL50 2JA. Registered number: 2041703

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