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Legal System

Japan has steadily risen to become one of the strongest economies in the world following the collapse of its economy after the Second World War due to economic embargoes and sanctions that were levied upon its economy. However, due to a unique work ethic and minor spending on national defense, Japan has quickly become one of this world’s economic elite. The major industries in Japan include banking, transportation, electronics, telecommunications, real estate, insurance and retailing.

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The capacity of Japan to produce automobiles on a large industrial scale has also helped increase the country’s GDP to around US$ 4. 2 trillion. One of the largest industries in Japan remains to be construction due to the high government financial support in this area. Massive construction projects have helped keep the Japanese economy afloat with the government often granting multi-billion dollar projects to the private sector. Another important facet of the Japanese economy is its banking sector. The world’s largest bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, with over US$1. 7 trillion in assets is based in Japan.

This has played a major role in the growth of the Japanese economy by controlling the liquidity of the market to a certain extent in order to spur growth and development. Other notables in the Japanese financial sector are the Japan Post, which is the world’s largest postal savings system, and the Tokyo Stock Exchange, which is the world’s second largest stock exchange. Japan is also the site of some of the largest financial service companies, business groups and banks in the world. The main trading partners of Japan, as of this writing, are China, the United States, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates.

Japan also exports highly to other countries such as the United States and China who are one of the major consumers of Japanese made automobiles, electronic equipment and industrial machinery. It must be noted also that China has now overtaken the United States as the number trading partner of Japan. The reason for this is due to geographical reasons which reduce the cost of acquisition and provide for a more favorable balance of trade with Japan. Government: The Japanese Government is a constitutional monarchy. The authority of the Emperor is very limited as he is widely considered only as a ceremonial figurehead.

The main authority resides with the Prime Minister of Japan. This is an appointive position by the Japanese Emperor after a nominee has been designated by the Diet from among its constituency. The Prime Minister has the power to enter into diplomatic negotiations with other heads of state. In order to remain in office, however, the Prime Minister must have the confidence of the Diet. This legislative body is composed of the House of Representatives, which has 480 seats, and the House of Councilors, which has 242 seats.

The Japanese Legal System has historically been greatly influence by Chinese law. While part of the Chinese legal influence remains, the Japanese legal system has slowly molded itself after the civil law system of France. A large number of the laws in Japan are codified much like the Napoleonic Codification in France. The Japanese legal system has also borrowed heavily from Germany. In 1896, Japan established its own civil code that was entirely based on the German Civil Code or the BGB. Statutes and laws originate from the National Diet of Japan.

There is of course a required seal of approval from the Emperor of Japan but this is considered as merely a rubber-stamp approval in today’s practice. There is no current provision in the Japanese Constitution that specifically grants the Emperor of Japan any veto power of the laws and bills that are passed, hence the term rubber-stamp. This is quite unlike the government systems in the United States that allows the President to veto certain parts of the laws that are presented to him. These statutes are found in a collection of laws called the Six Codes. There are four basic tiers in the Japanese Judicial System.

There is the Supreme Court of Japan which is the highest ruling body in Japan and the three lower courts that act as appellate courts, courts of general jurisdiction and courts of limited jurisdiction. Conclusion: Japan is a country that provides a number of opportunities for anyone brave enough to venture into its market. The highly competitive global market that Japan presents makes it difficult for any business to flourish there. Given the relatively patriotic inclination of Japan for local businesses and industries, any entry by foreign capital must first earn the trust and confidence of the Japanese in order to be profitable.

As such, there are other avenues that provide a number of opportunities for investment. One of these areas lies in health care for the elderly. With the birth rate in constant decline and the median age constantly rising, Japan will have a need for nurses and health care professionals in a few years. This point of entry could prove to be quite lucrative for anyone interested in this field. Another possible area of business opportunity is the business process outsourcing industry. While Japan is a highly industrialized country, the cost of production in Japan also translates into higher costs.

This means that if certain cost intensive processes were transferred to another location it could mean lower costs for production and higher profit margins.

References:

De Bary, William Theodore (2005). Sources of Japanese Tradition. Columbia University Press, 1304. ISBN 023112984X. Retrieved on 2007-01-29. Hubbard, Glenn (2005) A Free-Market Cure for Japan’s Chronic Cold Business Week on April 25, 2005 Ogawa, Naohiro. “Demographic Trends and Their Implications for Japan’s Future” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Transcript of speech delivered on (7 March 1997). Retrieved on 14 May 2006.

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