Washington International Law Journal


This Article examines the influences of foreign law on Japanese labor relations law and the process by which foreign legal concepts have been domesticated, focusing in particular on the provisions, interpretation, and operation of the Trade Union Law of 1949. Acting on the constitutional right to organize and to bargain and act collectively, the Japanese Diet established the framework for Japanese labor relations law by enacting the Trade Union Law of 1945 which was subsequently amended in 1949. While European constitutions appear to be the model for the constitutional provision regarding the right of workers to organize and German influence has been substantial in the realm of statutory interpretation, American influence, as exerted through the General Headquarters during the Allied Occupation of Japan following World War II, was predominant in the final provisions of the Trade Union Law of 1949. Despite these foreign influences, however, there has been significant domestication in the substance of the legislation itself, and in its interpretation and actual operation. The less adversarial model of industrial relations has had a marked impact on domestication. Thus, the Japanese system offers a unique model of labor relations law from which other countries may learn.

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