Legislating, Decision-Making, Practice and Education
Edited by Mary Hiscock and William van Caenegem
Chapter 5: Internationalisation of the Legal Profession in Japan: Integration by Increments
Vicki L. Beyer* The practice of law in Japan has never been more internationalised, both in terms of the ability of domestic lawyers to advise international clients or advise on international/transnational matters and in terms of the ability of foreign lawyers to participate in either of those activities. Yet some would argue that there is still progress to be made. In order to fully appreciate the current state of internationalisation, it is important to provide some background information and trace the evolution of internationalisation of the Japanese legal profession. Accordingly, this chapter will examine the evolution of the Japanese legal profession as well as the evolution of the ability of foreign lawyers to practice in Japan, before turning to the various issues that the resulting internationalisation has either introduced or resolved. THE JAPANESE LEGAL PROFESSION The legal profession in Japan dates back to the late nineteenth century when Japan first began the process of modernising and Westernising its legal system. One criticism that is often levied at Japan is that there are not enough lawyers. Certainly when compared to countries like the United States of America (US) and Australia, on a per capita basis Japan looks to have a small legal profession. However, there are in fact various categories of legal professionals, each of which has its own area of practice. When all the categories are taken into consideration, the number of professionals offering legal advice in Japan is on a par with most European countries (see Table 5.1). The...
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