Japanese Political System

784 Words4 Pages
The Japanese political and legal system presents a complex picture. On the one hand, Japan is a democratic state, with strong civic and legal institutions. On the other hand, the country has characteristics of nondemocratic systems. It is a democracy yet just one party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has run the country almost continuously since the end of World War II. Japan is highly bureaucratic as well. Decisions affecting national policy are often made by ministries with substantial power and influence and ties to business and industrial groups. As a result, it is often said that Japan lacks the pragmatic approach to change that is common in Western democracies, and this is seen as contributing to Japan’s extended economic malaise.…show more content…
Elderly statesmen and party chiefs, not individual prime ministers, often make political decisions. Cabinet members are usually appointed to head ministries or agencies for very brief periods of time and at most establish only general policy control. Recently, commentators have begun to question this lack of action.
Japan’s legal system is very different from what most Westerners are used to. For example, only since 1986 have foreign legal consultants (Gaigokuho-Jimu-Bengoshi) been allowed to provide legal services. The requirements were modified in 1994 with the signing of the Amendments to the Foreign Attorney Law. In certain types of practices, licensed legal consultants from other countries can now practice together with Japanese attorneys.
Anyone planning on doing business in Japan should bear in mind that prefectures and municipalities may create laws and regulations independently of each other, so long as they do not contradict national laws. In other words, there are local laws and regulations in addition to laws that are consistent and uniform throughout the country. Each of the 47 prefectures may have a slightly different requirement concerning paperwork, for
…show more content…
The judge makes the ruling and decides whether and how much to award as compensation; such cases do not go before a jury. Japan had a jury system at one time, but it was discontinued after five years since ordinary citizens were very reluctant to make important decisions about other people's lives. To deter people from filing suits, the plaintiff is required to pay a large filing fee and all legal costs; attorneys may not take cases on contingency.
One of the most significant differences between Japanese law and the law in many other countries has to do with the power of contracts. Japanese contracts are not necessarily meant to be binding. Rather, founded on trust (shinyô), they're often more short statements of mutual intent. The assumption is that if a change occurs in the circumstances of the contract, the terms will be
Open Document