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Japanese law has changed significantly since 2003 when the second edition of Comparative Law: Law and the Legal Process in Japan was published, and much is still changing. Japan's two-decade economic slump drove a process of change and reform; this process extended to the legal system as well. The Japanese government has turned to law as the principal tool of transformative social change, including major changes to the legal education system and attempts to strengthen citizens' engagement with their legal system. The authors critically analyze the law and the use of law to effect these changes. Relying on translated cases, statutes, and the Constitution, Comparative Law puts Japanese law in legal, historical, and cultural context with a comprehensive analysis of Japanese law and legal process that traces the question of the role of law through various areas, including constitutional law, criminal law, civil litigation, antitrust, and intellectual property law.
This edition has been streamlined, shortened, and significantly updated as laws in Japan (but not the concept or process of law) have changed. Many additional new and old cases from the Supreme Court of Japan have been added. All material was either translated by the editors, by the Supreme Court of Japan, or by other equally reliable sources. Focusing on the process of law in a radically different culture from one's own, yet a culture in which similar results are reached, is a very effective teaching tool. Port et al. demonstrate that utilitarianism is as effective in Japan as in the United States for understanding and predicting judicial outcomes.