In Print: Volume 88: Number 6
By John O. Haley
88 Wash. U. L. Rev. 1467 (2011)
Judicial decision making in Japan has become a topic of considerable interest for at least the cadre of comparative lawyers whose primary concern is constitutional law. Such interest is to be applauded. Comparisons with Japan are always beneficial, in that they require a departure from the prevailing focus on the United States and Western Europe. Broadening the scope of comparison to include Japan, the premier non-Western industrial democracy for over a century, avoids at least some of the significant pitfalls of Eurocentric analyses that too often tend to mislead as much as to edify. The inclusion of Japan in comparative legal analyses forces explicit recognition of assumptions and premises related to legal systems that are frequently left unstated and merely, mistakenly, assumed as universally valid. Japan’s inclusion thus leads to a more complete and arguably more accurate appraisal of factors and issues that should be included but might otherwise be ignored.
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