Washington Law Review


The legal systems of the Federal Republic and Japan have much in common. The basic institutions and concepts of German civil, criminal, and administrative law provided the principal models for Japan's legal reforms during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Contemporary legislation and doctrinal changes in the Federal Republic also continue to influence Japanese legal developments. Despite the American origins of Japanese antitrust legislation, which was drafted by Americans and imposed during the Occupation on a less than enthusiastic Japanese government, the influence of German law and practice on Japanese antitrust law, at least since 1953, has been profound. The 1952 government draft of the German GWB, for example, provided the basis for the most important changes in the Japanese Antimonopoly and Fair Trade Law in 1953: the inclusion of recession (fukyō) and rationalization (gōrika) cartels. Perhaps more important, the Japanese statute is enforced within procedural contexts—both administrative and criminal—patterned after German law. As a result, today Japanese antitrust law can be understood accurately only when read in terms of German rather than American practice.

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