Max Planck Society

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Media Information
Online version Handwörterbuch des Europäischen Privatrechts


Project Leader

Harald Baum
baum@mpipriv.de

 

Project Staff

Anna Katharina Suzuki-Klasen
suzuki-klasen@mpipriv.de

 

 

 

 

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Presentations and Conferences on Japanese Law

The Institute has individually or cooperatively organized a series of comparative law symposia in respect of Japanese law and has subsequently published various conference volumes.

Events Celebrating 150 Years of German-Japanese Friendship

As part of the array of events commemorating the 150-year anniversary, Harald Baum organised and led two comparative law symposiums which were conducted in partnership with various institutions and organisations and which enjoyed the participation of a number of prominent scholars. On 21-22 October 2011 the conference “Germany and Japan: A Legal Dialogue between Two Economies” was held at the MPI Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in cooperation with the Bucerius Law School, the German-Japanese Association of Jurists, the Japanese General Consulate in Hamburg and the Center of Excellence of the Waseda University in Tokyo; in November a three-day symposium titled “Legal Transplants in Japan and Germany” was held at the Keio University in Tokyo.

 

In 2011 the German-Japanese relationship celebrated its 150th anniversary. The nations of Japan and Germany (originally Prussia) have for one-and-a-half centuries enjoyed a sincere and constant friendship, one which is likely without equal in Germany’s history of international relations. Japan remains one of Asia’s leading nations and was for many years the sole non-western state which economically and politically stood on a part with industrialised western nations, although at the same time remaining true to its historical and cultural Asian traditions. As an element of its expansive and developed heritage, Japan disposed over a long-standing and self-defined tradition for the regulation of social conflicts which was fully independent of the European influences of Roman law. Thus, transplanted legal institutes operate within a social context shaped by a different cultural tradition, one which until today remains characterised by a cooperative approach to relationships and communitarian structures. Though not its exclusive explanation, the low rate of litigation in Japan can at least partly be traced to these integral attributes. On account of historical factors, modern Japanese law has been influence not only by European sources, particularly German and French law, but from 1945 forward significantly by US law. Accordingly, current law in Japan comprises a mixed legal system of multiple layers and thereby holds special intrigue for legal comparatists. As part of the array of events commemorating the 150-year anniversary, Harald Baum organised and led two comparative law symposiums which were conducted in partnership with various institutions and organisations and which enjoyed the participation of a number of prominent scholars.

 

On 21-22 October 2011 the conference “Germany and Japan: A Legal Dialogue between Two Economies” was held at the MPI Institute for Comparative and International Private Law in cooperation with the Bucerius Law School, the German-Japanese Association of Jurists, the Japanese General Consulate in Hamburg and the Center of Excellence of the Waseda University in Tokyo. Held partly in German and partly in English, the delivered talks spanned a wide arc of topics, covering the history and modernisation of the economies and legal regimes of both countries from the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries (Knut Wolfgang Nörr/Yoshiaki Kurumisawa), commercial law topics (Karsten Schmidt/Hiroshi Oda), management liability (Holger Fleischer/Etsuro Kuronuma), various aspects of corporate governance (Christian Kirchner/Tatsuo Uemura), the increasingly pressing problem of corporate compliance (Thomas Rönnau/Katsunori Kai) and current approaches for combatting acts of piracy (Doris König/Mariko Kawano). A comprehensive conference report can be found in J.Japan.L, 32 (2011) 321-328. A conference volume, edited by Baum, is being released as a special issue of J.Japan.L, 6 (2012).

 

In November 2011 a three-day symposium titled “Legal Transplants in Japan and Germany” took place at the Keio University in Tokyo after being organised and sponsored by Harald Baum in cooperation with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the Japanese-German Center Berlin, the German-Japanese Association of Jurists and the Keio University. The lectures were mostly in German with a smaller segment being held in Japanese; simultaneous translation was in each instance offered in the opposing language. The conference was organised into five thematic blocks.

 

The first block considered as a starting point the selective reception of German law within Japan at the close of the 19th century and the early 20th century (Anna Bartels-Ishikawa/Kazuhiro Takii). This was followed by an absorbing analysis of the partly divergent, partly parallel developments in the law on breach of contract in Japan and German since 1900 (Keizo Yamamoto/Stephan Lorenz). The second thematic block was dedicated to the “Americanisation” of economic law in Japan and Germany, as the legal realignment that occurred in both countries subsequent to 1945 was to a certain extent – more so in Japan than Germany – shaped by US legal conceptions. As an illustration, the influence of US law on German and Japanese company law and capital market law was discussed (Jan von Hein/Hiroyuki Kansaku). Subsequently, consideration was given to the enduring fascination with US law as well as the perspectives of German and Japanese law in respect of the global competition among legal systems (Christoph Frank/Mikio Tanaka). The focal point of the third block was legal transplants originating in Germany and Japan destined for reforming nations. The political perspective was discussed by Vice Minister Katsuyuki Nishikawa (Japanese Ministry of Justice) and State Secretary Dr. Birgit Grundmann (German Federal Ministry of Justice); the issue of facilitating transfers was addressed by Tokiyasu Fujita and Dieter Grimm. The fourth block had as its object the modernisation of the law of obligations – a topic of contemporary relevance in Japan in light of an upcoming reform (Karl Riesenhuber, Jens-Uwe Franck and Peter A. Windel/Kunihiro Nakata and Makoto Arai). The final thematic block considered the logic and limits of comparative analysis in respect of criminal law (Franz Streng/Byung-Sun Cho/Shintaro Koike). The closing address of the symposium was delivered by the German ambassador to Japan, H.E. Dr. Volker Stanzel, whose talk provided a detailed summary of the development, current status and the future prospects for the German-Japanese relationship, the latter being assessed as exceptionally positive.

 

The third day of the conference was reserved as a forum for German and Japanese junior scholars. With a leitmotif of “The Function of Contracts in Private Law, Criminal Law and Public Law”, ten young scholars from Germany and Japan made presentations under the guidance of Karl Riesenhuber (Bochum), Kanako Takayama (Kyoto) and Moritz Bälz (Frankfurt/M.). The symposium was generously supported by the German Federal Ministry of Justice and the Robert Bosch Foundation. The participants were, additionally, specially invited to a reception held at the home of the German ambassador to Japan. The conference volume edited by Baum, Bälz and Riesenhuber will appear as a special issue of J.Japan.L, 7 (2013).

Symposia on Japanese Law

The Institute has individually or cooperatively organized a series of comparative law symposia in respect of Japanese law. The current list of subsequently published conference volumes includes:

„Deutschland und Japan: Zwei Ökonomien im rechtlichen Dialog“ (Hamburg, 2011);
 
„Rechtstransfer in Japan und Deutschland“ (Tokyo, 2011);

„Japanese and European Private International Law in Comparative Perspective“ (2007); 


„An Economic Analysis of Private International Law“ (2005); 


„Globalisierung und Recht – Beiträge Japans und Deutschlands zu einer internationalen Rechtsordnung im 21. Jahrhundert“ (2005);


„Changes of Governance in Europe, Japan, and the U.S.: Corporations, State, Markets, and Intermediaries“ (2004);


„Reform des Unternehmens- und Finanzmarktrechts in Japan und Deutschland“ (2003); 


„Economic Regulation and Competition. Regulation of Services in the EU, Germany and Japan“ (2001);


„Comparative Corporate Governance: the State of the Art and Emerging Research“ (1997);


„Japan: Economic Success and Legal System“ (1995).

Courses of Instruction on Japanese Law

In cooperation with the University of Hamburg, the Institute’s reporter for Japan, Prof. Dr. Harald Baum, regularly offers courses of instruction on Japanese law.