• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Areas of interest Human Sciences
  • Work Integrated Learning Fieldwork
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

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 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.

Students must apply to undertake this course. Please go to International Opportunities for application information.

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.   

Work Integrated Learning


Students experience first-hand a unique opportunity to study Japanese law in a global and socio-economic context in Kyoto, Japan. The course develops the general skills of comparative lawyers, to provide students with advanced knowledge and perspectives to understand and critically assess contemporary developments in Japanese law and society, while engaging in field trips to the Kyoto District Court, the local bar association, and one outside legal institution to experience the law in practice. 

Other Information

Enrolment is limited with selection based on a competitive process. Application information can be located on the ANU College of Law Website.

Please note that submitting an application for the course and being accepted into the program does not actually mean you are enrolled officially in the course. After you have been accepted in the program, students are required to

  1. lodge a separate application with Ritsumeikan Law School directly; and
  2. enrol in the course once summer school enrolment has opened.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Discussion postings, 600 words total (best 3 from 5)  (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Presentation, 15 minutes  (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Short paper (to accompany presentation), 1000 words  (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Final paper, 2500 words (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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.


  • Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 36 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
  • Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have three contact hours per week. Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.

Click here for the LLB Program course list

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

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

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

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when known.

Preliminary Reading

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

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.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2024 $4980
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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