Issues in Japanese Law

Subject LAWS40013 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

February, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

The subject is taught in intensive mode in the summer term.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: The subject is taught in intensive mode in the summer term.
Total Time Commitment: 100 hours.

Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Legal Theory; or in each case their equivalents.

Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: None.
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Ms Stacey Steele


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

Japan is a large creditor nation and its legal system has presented a regulatory and organisational blueprint for developing countries, particularly in Asia. Yet its government is actively seeking economic and social reform through legislative means. This makes it an exciting and challenging time to study Japanese law.

In this subject, we will unpack the stereotypes about Japanese law as we explore topics such as: the periodic adaptation of Japanese law to new challenges; nationality law and demands for new civil rights; expectations of gender and racial equity; dispute resolution and contracting; Japan's use of the death penalty; and the failures and successes of commercial law reform. The subject also considers how you might use your law degree to practise in Japan and the framework regulating practice by non-Japanese in one of the world's largest demand economies for legal services.

Based around a range of English language resources, the subject uses lecturers, seminars, class discussion, hypothetical problems, film, documentaries and the Internet to get inside Japanese law. It offers a stimulating opportunity to consider foreign and comparative law issues in an Asian legal system context.

Note: The essay in this subject is regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing for honours purposes.


The objectives of this subject are to assist students to develop the following skills:

  • Be familiar with writing on a range of areas of Japanese law and society;
  • Understand debates about Japanese legal and business structures, community and economic organisation; and
  • Be able to find and use civil law statutes and cases in English (and if you have Japanese language skills, in Japanese).

If the enrolment is less than 50 students:
A research assignment of 5,000 words, 100% (due end of semester) or a final examination of three hours, 100%


If the enrolment is more than 50 students:
A final examination of three hours, 100%.

Prescribed Texts:

Printed materials will be available from the Melbourne Law School.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of the subject, students should have developed the following generic skills:

  • Attitudes towards knowledge that include valuing truth, openness to new ideas and ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage;
  • The capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources;
  • The capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection;
  • The capacity to solve problems, including through the collection and evaluation of information;
  • The capacity to communicate, both orally and in writing;
  • The capacity to plan and manage time;
  • The capacity to participate as a member of a team;
  • Intercultural sensitivity and understanding.

In addition, on completion of the subject, students should have developed the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • Be able to formulate and discuss your own view about the role of law in another country;
  • For those students writing an essay, be able to formulate a research essay topic and execute a piece of critical, sustained, effective and researched writing about law in Japan; and
  • For those students taking the exam, use critical perspectives to analyse a range of texts including case studies, commentary and legislation and create structured and effective legal analyses and arguments to solve hypothetical fact scenarios relating to law in Japan.

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