Max Planck Society

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law

Media Information
Online version Handwörterbuch des Europäischen Privatrechts

Project Leader

Harald Baum


Project Staff

Anna Katharina Suzuki-Klasen






Publications on Japanese Law

At the Hamburg Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, numerous monographs and collected editions on Japanese law have been authored which have mapped the key features of the corresponding research landscape. Furthermore, the Institute is responsible for the publication of the world’s only western-language legal periodical which, following a consistent approach, offers regular and timely documentation and analysis of the myriad developments in Japanese law.

Journal of Japanese Law

ZJapanRIn cooperation with the German-Japanese Association of Jurists (DJJV), the Institute has since 2004 published the “Zeitschrift für Japanisches Recht/Journal of Japanese Law” (ZJapanR/J.Japan.L). The periodical is an international journal serving the needs of lawyers and scholars interested in Japanese law; its goal is to make all areas of the Japanese legal system accessible in a comprehensive and methodologically structured manner. The texts are, in roughly equal proportions, authored in German and English. At present the Journal is the world’s only western language publication which offers a regular and timely documentation and analysis of the myriad lines of development in Japanese law. Authors include not only renowned scholars from in- and outside Germany, but also practitioners having experience in Japan, thus enabling a particularly wide spectrum of analysis.
Information for submitting authors

Special Editions Journal of Japanese Law

Encyclopedia of Japanese Commercial and Business Law

Edited  by Harald Baum, Head of the Japan Unit at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law and Moritz Bälz, Professor of Japanese Law and its Cultural Foundations at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, the "Handbuch Japanisches Wirtschafts- und Handelsrecht" (Encyclopedia of Japanese Commercial and Business Law) stands as the most comprehensive compilation of these materials ever assembled in the German language. Hailing from Germany, Japan and Australia, the circle of authors comprises 38 renowned scholars and practitioners expert in Japanese law.


For readers of German active in scholarship, commerce or politics, the Encyclopedia presents Japanese commercial and business law in a manner unique for the European continent. The work does not require any familiarity with the Japanese language, and, to the greatest extent possible, reference is made to other Western-language materials and publications. Building from their historical, methodological and institutional background, the work outlines approximately 30 different areas and in so doing effectively encompasses Japanese civil law, commercial law, business law and procedural law. All entries have been updated through 2010. Additionally, the 1700 page volume is supplemented by a comprehensive index of laws and statutes, a nearly 100-page long semi-annotated bibliography of more recent Western publications on Japanese law and a German-Japanese glossary of legal terms.


For historical reasons, the relationship between Germany and Japan in respect of law is quite close. Not least, it was German jurists who were active participants in the construction of the modern Japanese legal system over 100 years ago. The still presently applicable Japanese Civil Code of 1896 and 1898 is in many parts oriented on the draft formulation of the German Civil Code of 1900. Yet whereas Japanese legal scholars have over the years continually maintained a focus on German law, it is only in the last three decades that a steadily growing interest in Japanese law can be witnessed within Germany. The significance of Japan as the world's third largest economic power has, moreover, made ready access to its legal system in Western languages indispensible.


Prof. Dr. Harald Baum is the founder and head of the Japan Unit at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Law. He is also the founding editor of the Zeitschrift für Japanisches Recht / Journal of Japanese Law; in publication since 1996, it is the world's only ongoing journal reporting on current developments in the field of Japanese law.


Prof. Dr. Moritz Bälz, LLM (Harvard), holds the chair for Japanese Law and its Cultural Foundation at the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main. He is a former fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law and a co-editor of the Zeitschrift für Japanisches Recht / Journal of Japanese Law.

Derivative Actions in Asia

Prof. Dr. Harald Baum, head of the Japan Unit at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, is a co-editor and contributing author of the just released reference work on corporate governance in Asia, "The Derivative Action in Asia – A Comparative and Functional Approach". The comparative inquiry features 16 authors illuminating the derivative action as encountered in China, Japan, India, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. These jurisdictions, home to Asia's nine largest stock exchanges, account for approximately 80 per cent of the continent's total economic output.


The derivative action, which has its historic roots in the United States and the United Kingdom, has become a ubiquitous feature in the corporate law regimes of Asia’s leading economies. On the basis of in-depth country-specific inquiries, the editors of the present work have adopted the derivative action as a lens for examining a number of traditional assumptions in respect of Asian corporate law practice. Numbering among them is the popularly circulated theory of Asia as a non-litigious culture. Particularly the examples of Japan, where derivative actions are undertaken far more often than in most western industrial nations, and Korea, where economic incentives have led to a sharp growth in derivative actions, challenge such a conclusion.


Also in regards to the question of how the derivative action functions within Asia’s leading civil law and common law jurisdictions, the authors were led to a number of unexpected findings. Whereas in Asia’s leading common law jurisdictions statutory (codified) law has played a substantially more important role than case law over the past two decades, the reverse has arguably been true in Asia’s leading civil law jurisdictions.


Published by Cambridge University Press, the volume stems from a symposium of the Asian Law Institute which was held in Singapore in 2010 and was titled "Derivative Actions in Asia’s Miracle Economies: A Comparative and Functional Approach". Together with Harald Baum, the work was co-edited by Dan W. Puchniak and Michael Ewing-Chow from the National University of Singapore.

Further Publications on Japanese Law

Baum, H.; Bälz, M.; Riesenhuber, K. (Hg.)
Rechtstransfer in Japan und Deutschland
Köln: Carl Heymanns Verlag, 2013.

Baum, H.; Nottage, L.; Rheuben, J.; Thier, M.
Japanese Business Law in Western Languages: An Annotated Selective Bibliography.
Buffalo: William S. Hein & Co., 2nd. ed., 2013.

Bälz, M.; Dernauer, M.; Heath, C.; Petersen-Padberg (eds.)
Business law in Japan – Cases and Comments. Writings in Honour of Harald Baum.
Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International, 2012.

Baum, H. (Hg.)
Deutschland und Japan: Zwei Ökonomien im rechtlichen Dialog.
Germany and Japan: A Legal Dialogue between two Economies
Köln: Carl Heymanns Verlag, 2012.

Basedow, J.; Kono, T.; Metzger, A. (eds.)
Intellectual Property in the Global Arena. Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, and the Recognition of Judgments in Europe, Japan and the US.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010.

Basedow, J.; Baum, H.; Nishitani, Y. (eds.)
Japanese and European Private International Law in Comparative Perspective.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008.

Basedow, J.; Rühl, G. (ed.)
An Economic Analysis of Private International Law.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.

Dernauer, M.
Verbraucherschutz und Vertragsfreiheit im japanischen Recht.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006.

Bälz, M.
Die Spaltung im japanischen Gesellschaftsrecht.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005.

Hopt, K. J.; Wymeersch, E.; Kanda, H.; Baum, H. (eds.)
Corporate Governance in Context: Corporations, State, and Markets in Europe, Japan, and the US.
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Eisele, U.
Holdinggesellschaften in Japan. Entwicklung, Verbot, Wiederzulassung und aktueller Rechtsrahmen.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004.

Basedow, J.; Baum, H.; Hopt, K. J.; Kanda, H.; Kono, T. (eds.)
Economic Regulation and Competition. Regulation of Services in the EU, Germany and Japan.
Den Haag: Kluwer Law International, 2002.

Kliesow, O.; Eisele, U.; Bälz, M.
Das japanische Handelsgesetz.
Köln: Carl Heymanns Verlag, 2002.

Kliesow, O.
Aktionärsrechte und Aktionärsklage in Japan. Gesetzliche Regelungen und soziale Wirklichkeit.
Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001.

Basedow, J.; Kono, T. (eds.)
Legal Aspects of Globalisation. Conflict of Laws, Internet, Capital Markets and Insolvency in a Global Economy.
Den Haag: Kluwer Law International, 2000.

Baum, H. (ed.)
Japan:  Economic Success and Legal System.
Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1997.

Baum, H.
Marktzugang und Unternehmenserwerb in Japan. Recht und Realität am Beispiel des Erwerbs von Publikums¬gesellschaften, Recht  und Wirtschaft Heidelberg: Verlag Recht und Wirtschaft, 1995.

Baum, H.; Drobnig, U. (eds.)
Japanisches Handels- und Wirtschaftsrecht.
Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1994.

Baum, H.; Stiege, T. (eds.)
Japan - Kultur und Recht. Eine Einführung.
Hamburg: DJJV, 1993.