The dramatic growth of the Japanese economy in the post-war period, and its meltdown in the 1990s, generated major reform recommendations in 2001 from the Justice System Reform Council aimed at greater civic engagement with law. This timely book examines the regulation and design of the Japanese legal system and contributes a legal perspective to the long-standing debate in Japanese Studies: who governs Japan?
Who Rules Japan? explores the extent to which a new Japanese state has emerged from this reform effort — one in which the Japanese people participate more freely in the legal system and have a greater stake in Japan’s future. Expert contributors from across the globe tackle the question of whether Japan is now a judicial state, upturning earlier views of Japan as an administrative state. The book explores well-known reforms, such as lay participation in criminal justice, but also less well-canvassed topics such as industrial relations, dispute resolution, government lawyers, law within popular culture in Japan, and social welfare and the law. The blend of empiricism, policy analysis, theory and doctrine provides a discerning insight into the impact of the law reform initiatives from the Justice System Reform Council.
Legal academics interested in comparative law broadly and Asian law specifically will find this book an indispensable contribution to the literature, offering a unique insight into the changing Japanese legal system. Students and scholars of Japanese Studies, especially the social sciences, will find clarity in this refreshing legal viewpoint of governance in contemporary Japan.