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 of 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 common assumptions about the place of law in Japanese society, including Japan's legal history, judicial system, legal education, and legal profession. The course explores topics including the place of litigation in Japan, and the treatment of non-Japanese, women, and minorities. The course then focuses on Japanese substantive law include the foundations of 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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- 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;
- Synthesise research from primary and secondary materials on selected Japanese law and society topics and present findings;
- Differentiate between an Australian and a Japanese understanding of the law and the relationship of citizens to the law on a variety of issues;
- Investigate the historical foundations of Japanese law, and contribute to debates on the relationship of law and society;
- 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.
Classes may be offered in non-standard sessions and be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (a minimum of 36 hours). Please refer to the LLB timetable for dates. Please contact the ANU College of Law Student Administration Services to request a permission code to enrol in classes offered in non-standard sessions.
- Discussion postings (500 words; best 3 from 5) (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Presentation (15 minutes) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Short paper (to accompany presentation) (1000 words) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Final paper (2500 words) (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week (a minimum of 36 hours). Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.
Requisite and Incompatibility
There is no prescribed text.
Colin P. A. Jones and Frank S. Ravitch (2018) The Japanese Legal System, West Academic Publishing.
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 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.
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.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.