Washington International Law Journal


This comment provides the first journal publication on Japan’s new class action law, promulgated on December 11, 2013. In the past, Japanese attorneys used rules of joinder and other alternatives to form de facto class action lawsuits. This comment provides insight into the development of Japan’s new class action law through a discussion of the historical context in which it was created. After discussing the law and its development, this comment argues that Japan should examine U.S. jurisprudence to prepare for challenges to the new class action system. Comparing Japanese and U.S. class action systems is appropriate because of similarities in their class formulations. This comment analyzes recent U.S. court decisions that show controversy and disagreement about how to interpret the class certification provisions. By looking at difficulties currently facing U.S. courts, Japan can better prepare itself to implement its law. Conversely, this comment presents the alternative proposition that due to the Japanese law’s bifurcated structure, U.S. litigants and courts can look to Japan’s new law for creative means of litigating class actions.

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