• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Law
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Jolyon Ford
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Summer Session 2019
    See Future Offerings

This unit aims to develop the general skills of comparative lawyers, to effectively and critically assess contemporary developments in the legal system of one of the world's largest economies. 'Law' comprises the rules and norms that any society creates to govern how its members should interact with one another. Societal factors provide context to the legal system, and vice versa. To properly examine any country's laws and legal system one needs to have at least some degree understanding of the dynamics and values of that society. The purpose of this course is to provide a foundation for understanding the history, place and use of law in modern Japan. The course covers the history, structure, and fundamental substantive areas of Japanese law. It investigates and challenges some of the assumptions about the place of law in Japanese society, including legal history, judicial system, legal education, and the legal profession. There is some treatment of other aspects of Japan's legal society including litigation, foreigners, women, and minorities. The course then focuses on Japanese substantive law include the foundations and current topics in Japanese constitutional, criminal, contract, tort, and commercial law. The overarching theme of the course is the globalisation of Japanese law in a wide range of subject areas, including civil and criminal justice, gender and the law, public law and some aspects of business regulation. The particular focus of the course is on Japanese corporate and commercial law, analysing how that law both reflects and has transformed Japanese capitalist society in the 21st century.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Critically analyse key principles, doctrines, structures and legal regimes relevant to Japanese law and society, and communicate this knowledge to various audiences in a clear and coherent manner;
2. Synthesise research from primary and secondary materials on selected Japanese law and society topics and present findings;
3. Differentiate between an Australian and a Japanese understanding of the law and the relationship of citizens to the law on a variety of issues;
4. Investigate the historical foundations of Japanese law, and contribute to debates on the relationship of law and society;
5. Examine case law and other sources covering selected topics and current issues relating to Japanese law and society and present findings relating to these sources.             

Other Information

This course is an offshore experience in Japan. Students attend the Kyoto and Tokyo Seminars at Ritsumeikan University.  Selection is via a competitive application process.  Please go to the ANU College of Law for more information.

Applications for 2019 have closed.

Indicative Assessment

1. Discussion postings, 10%, 600 words total (best 3 from 5) (Learning Outcomes 1 and 4 in particular, also 2,3)
2. Presentation, 20%, 15 minutes (LO 1 in particular, also 2-5)
3. Short paper (to accompany presentation), 20%, 1000 words (see 2 above)
4. Final paper, 50%, 2500 words (LO 1-5, especially 4-5)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


This course is conducted intensively over two weeks, a maximum of 36 teaching hours. The course may be run onshore (at ANU) or offshore (at a Japanese partner institution) in this intensive format. The intention is that the course is normally offered in Japan with a partner university there, but may be run onshore at ANU in any given year. In any given year, in-person instruction may be supplemented by online teaching materials.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Bachelor of Laws, have completed or be completing five LAWS 1000 level courses; Or Juris Doctor and have completed or be completing five LAWS 1000 or 6100 level courses.

You will need to contact the ANU Law School to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Preliminary Reading

Foote, Daniel H (ed.), Law in Japan: A Turning Point (University of Washington Press, 2007) (recommended)

This will be made available by the Convenor in any given year of the course being offered

Assumed Knowledge

This course does not assume that you have special knowledge of Japan or Japanese. The course is an examination of the Japanese legal system as one example of how affluent democratic societies use law to structure economic and political institutions, and so does not assume any knowledge about Japan itself. However, if you have a background in Japanese or Asian Studies, you will be able to use this in your analysis of the topics covered in this course. All lectures are in English.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Summer Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
1728 04 Feb 2019 04 Feb 2019 15 Feb 2019 27 Mar 2019 In Person N/A

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