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A sense of momentum accompanied the start of Japan's new legal education system in the spring of 2004. Less than three years had passed since the Justice System Reform Council (the Reform Council) issued its final report in June 2001, proposing a major restructuring of Japan's legal training system centered on a new tier of graduate level law schools. And less than a year and a half had elapsed since the details of the law school system were decided and enabling legislation passed. Despite the tight timetable, sixty-eight law schools were ready to commence operations in 2004, having arranged facilities, assembled faculty, developed curricula, and taken all the other steps required to complete the chartering process; and six additional law schools undertook operations the following year.

[F]for those involved with Japan's law schools, the optimism of 2004 has given way to considerable anxiety. This article seeks to explain how Japan's legal education system reached the current situation and, risky as the task is, seeks to offer some thoughts on where the system is headed.



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