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Image: Imperial Seal of Japan

Source: Wikipedia

World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - Country Profile

World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - Country Profile for Japan

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Japanese-English Legal Dictionaries

Japan's Legal System

Japan is a densely populated archipelago in the Pacific Ocean and has the world's third largest economy.Japan has a complex legal history, influenced early on by China, continental Europe in the late 19th century and Anglo-American law following World War II. "However, it has also been framed by international law and law reformers remain attracted to broader 'global standards'. Accordingly, Japanese law can be expected to remain an archetypical 'hybrid' legal system, not readily characterized as belonging to any particular 'legal family'" (Smits JM 2006, Elgar Encyclopedia of Comparative Law, p. 357).

The modern constitution was adopted in 1946, following World War II. It has three fundamental principles, that sovereignty resides in the people (no longer with the emperor), a respect for human rights, and pacifism.

Japan's Legal System

Japanese Government Structure

Flowchart of the Government of Japan.

Source: Website of the Cabinet Secretariat, Cabinet Public Relations Office

Beginning Japanese Legal Research

The following tips can help you in your research:

  • See the drop-down menu under the Japan tab for more information on legislation, case law, treaties and law reform
  • See the Books & Journals link in the drop-down menu for more information on books and journals held by the university, including electronic resources
  • Browse the law library shelves beginning at KT 4621 for books on Japan and the law


For other research guides on Japanese Legal Research see:

Kodansha encyclopedia of Japan

General Country Information

Doing Business in Japan