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Article 76 of the Japanese Constitution requires that all judges be ""independent in the exercise of their conscience and bound only by this Constitution and its laws. Consistent with this requirement, Japanese courts have long enjoyed a reputation for vigilant independence. Only leftists have challenged this, and only occasionally and anecdotally.;In this book, J. Mark Ramseyer and Eric B. Rasmusen use the latest statistical techniques to examine whether (and if so, to what extent) Japanese politicians manipulate the careers of lower court judges to political advantage. One the basis of careful econometric analysis of career data for hundreds of judges, they find that Japanese politicians do influence judicial careers discreetly and indirectly: judges who decide politically charged cases in ways favoured by the ruling party enjoy better careers after their decisions than those who do not.;Ramseyer and Rasmusen's sophisticated yet accessible analysis has much to offer anyone interested in judicial independence or the application of econometric techniques in the social sciences.