State clamps down on lawyer numbers


The government plans to slash the pass rate for the annual bar exam by one-third amid an attorney glut, sources close to the matter said.

At present some 3,000 candidates a year are allowed to pass the test, but this has led to an oversupply of lawyers, making it difficult to find jobs. The government thus wants to lower to effective quota to around 2,000.

The government is expected to start discussing the details later this month and reach a conclusion by March.

In March 2002, the state set a goal of raising the annual pass rate to 3,000 by around 2010.

The number gradually rose from around 1,000 until it hit 2,063 in 2011, raising the number of people qualified to practice law nationwide to about 30,000 in 2011, from 18,000 in 2001.

In March, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations proposed lowering the annual target to 1,500. In April, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said 3,000 was too high.