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Colin P.A. Jones
Japan’s national bar exam was held on Nov. 8 with a pass rate of 45%. Though for decades the pass rate was much lower, this seeming improvement has come on the back of several regulatory blunders.
COMMENTARY / Japan
Nov 20, 2023
The failure behind Japan’s bar exam pass rate
The pass rate for Japan's bar exam has fluctuated, with this year's level coming on the back of several misguided interventions.
Plaintiffs, lawyers and supporters march to the Tokyo District Court on Nov. 30, the same day the court ruled that Japan’s lack of legal protections for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
COMMENTARY / Japan
Oct 27, 2023
Japan's 'failed' same-sex marriage lawsuits can still propel reform
Even unsuccessful cases challenging Japan’s failure to recognize same-sex marriage have gotten courts to acknowledge a constitutional problem.
Japan Times
JAPAN
Aug 18, 2022
Go with the flow: What to do when the Japanese police stop you for questioning
One former elite police official says the best course of action is to submit to questioning and resist the urge to resist.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / Japan / LAW OF THE LAND
Jul 15, 2020
Is the Article 9 labyrinth merely academic?
Numerous creative theories have been read into the Constitution's no-war clause by scholars over the years.
Japan Times
JAPAN / Crime & Legal / LAW OF THE LAND
Jun 18, 2020
Much ado about retirement ages and Japan's politicized bureaucracy
The scandal surrounding top prosecutor Hiromu Kurokawa has kicked off a debate on retirement ages and interference in Japan's civil service.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
May 18, 2020
Can Japan's laws adapt to pandemic-era privacy needs?
Identity-based discrimination is a part of Japanese law, but could our own experiences with the new coronavirus become part of our identity?
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Feb 17, 2020
Bureaucrats are to blame for copy-happy hotel clerks
With data privacy being a huge issue, you may feel uneasy about hotels photocopying your passport. However, Colin P.A. Jones says the rule is more about bureaucratic culture than privacy.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jan 8, 2020
Carlos Ghosn and the 99.9% who don't escape Japan
If I had to identify one event in the Carlos Ghosn case indicitave of concern for foreign perceptions of Japan's criminal justice system, it would be the decision to grant him bail.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Dec 23, 2019
The Reiwa Daijosai: Pomp, circumstance and litigation
The separation of church and state in Japan comes under scrutiny in the new era. However, we've been down this road before.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Sep 29, 2019
The Tepco verdict is predictable but not insignificant
Three Tepco executives are acquitted of criminal negligence in the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster. Did the court recognize the unfairness of holding only three people responsible for a crisis that had much broader causes?
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Aug 7, 2019
Seven lessons from a Japanese morality textbook
The textbooks students in Japan use to learn wrong from right are filled with stories of invoices, citizen committees, petitions and other cool stuff kids like.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jun 19, 2019
With changes in emperors come amnesties, so who will benefit?
One convenient thing about Japanese law for those of us who are professors of it is that it is quite modern. Virtually all Japanese laws and institutions antedate the Meiji Restoration of 1868 and, of those, most have a 20th-century provenance. Compared to Anglo-American law with Magna Carta, bewigged...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
May 5, 2019
Iwo Jima: Where Japan rules but the memory of war dead still reigns
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Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Mar 31, 2019
Heisei's legal legacies include greater civic participation
With Emperor Akihito abdicating on April 30, the Heisei Era that began Jan. 8, 1989, after his father's death will also come to an end. With this column I'd like to look back at some of the noteworthy changes that occurred to Japan's laws and legal institutions during the past three decades.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Mar 6, 2019
Robot rights: From Asimov to Tezuka
Asimov's 'Three Laws of Robotics' are fictional rules, so why do we keep looking to them for guidance? The closest thing to real-world robot law we could have more seems likely to develop around the question of when autonomous military drones can make 'kill' decisions without human intervention.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Feb 6, 2019
The Supreme Court hews to the letter of the law on gender identity while laying the groundwork for future challenges
At no point have I ever had to grapple with the decision to have my genitals surgically removed. Perhaps the same is true for you. While these may seem an odd set of affirmations to open with, they help illustrate a basic truth: How we think about a law can vary greatly depending upon whether or not...
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Jan 2, 2019
How the last czar shaped Japan's courts
A botched assassination attempt in 1891 presents Japan's fledgling penal code with an existential dilemma.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / Japan
Dec 13, 2018
A spotlight on Japan's criminal justice system
Ousted Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's case will put Japan's criminal trial process on the global stage.
Japan Times
COMMENTARY / World
Dec 5, 2018
Trump presidency a symptom of a deeper American problem
The real long-term problem faced by America is not the U.S. president. It's the crumbling legitimacy of the entire U.S. system of government.
Japan Times
COMMUNITY / Issues / LAW OF THE LAND
Dec 1, 2018
Carlos Ghosn's arrest is more about Japanese criminal justice than corporate governance
A 'hostage-based' criminal justice system, second arrests and trial by public all play a part in a case that the world is watching.

Longform

The Japanese government updated its English education guidelines in 2017 to emphasize communication over grammar and memorization. Public school teachers are incredibly busy, however, which means schools haven’t been able to implement changes uniformly. Private and alternative schools are attempting to remedy this.
The language of opportunity: Bilingual education is on the rise in Japan