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The Changing Role of Law in Japan offers a comparative perspective on the changing role of law in East Asia, discussing issues such as society, cultural values, access to the legal system and judicial reform. This innovative book places Japan in the wider context, juxtaposed with Europe, rather than the US, for the first time. Parallel to Japan's rise to economic prominence on the world scene in the 1960s, law and legal thinking in the country have become the focus for academic research in various respects. One recurring question has been how Japan managed to become one of the most important economic actors in the world, without the legal infrastructure usually associated with complex economic activities. This book addresses many current issues that illustrate important changes in Japanese society and its political and legal systems. The authors investigate fundamental questions about the precise role of law and the courts in Japan, and try to go beyond the classical paradigm that attributes the particularities of Japan to its unique culture or its exceptional position. The various contributions to this book all demonstrate the importance of challenging existing conceptions and revisiting them through meticulous socio-legal and empirical research. This book will appeal to scholars of sociology of law, international studies and those interested in a transnational approach to the legal framework. Graduate students dealing with law in Asia, intellectual property, patent law and competition law will also find much relevance in this interesting and stimulating book.