Empirical Studies in Culture, Society and Policy Making
Edited by Dimitri Vanoverbeke, Jeroen Maesschalck, David Nelken and Stephan Parmentier
Chapter 6: Law in a changing economy: law of trade credit and security interests in context
The last few years of the twentieth century and the subsequent decade was the time of law reform in Japan. These years coincided with the time when Japan struggled with the persistent economic downturn after the burst of the Bubble Economy, and the struggling economy was apparently one of the motives for the law reform. The debtor-creditor law was among those that the greatest emphasis was placed on in this context. The legislator expected its reform to bring Japan out of the economic crisis. As compared with the time of economic success until the 1980s, the role of law in Japan seems to have changed in two ways. On the one hand, the law has come to be considered as relevant to the economy, as compared with the previously popular belief that did not attribute the economic growth to the law. On the other hand, the law governing the debtor-creditor relationship has become an instrument of economic policy, whereas the secured transactions law as part of the Civil Code or the insolvency law had traditionally been considered as the basic private law, pursuant to the model of the European Civil Law system. Such legal instrumentalism, accompanying the shift in the perceived relevance of the law, might indicate that the 'legal culture' in Japan has changed.
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