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This book reassesses Japanese product liability law and practice, and broader trends in product safety, in historical and global context. It contests the 'culturalist' view that Japan remains in the thrall of weak legal consciousness and consumerism, by comparing developments not only in the United States, but also Europe and Australia. The still-birth of product liability in the early 1970s, in the wake of environmental disasters in Minamata and mass litigation regarding defectives products, is contrasted with its re-birth from the late 1980s, prompted partly be deregulation. Product liability law in Japan, especially legislation enacted in 1994, is then compared with the law in the European Union, Australia and the United States, rejecting the view that the former is distinctly more 'anti-consumer'. The pervasive impact of this re-birth and the legislation over the 1990s is gauged by analysing patterns of litigation, forms of alternative dispute resolution, other responses by companies and consumers, and various case studies, the latter include incidents involving defective foodstuffs, particularly during the 'summer of eating dangerously' in mid-2000, and Japan's outbreak of mad