Most of the errors I noted were found in Mr. Nichols’ book, AJP-LS-JPORPG Review. His use of strong vocabulary and homonyms is obvious, but he makes some other questionable claims as well, such as that all concepts used in the Japanese legal system are equivalent. Such claim is patently false, as there are significant differences between the Japanese legal system and the English system, such as with respect to stare deciseness, which is a technical term in American law. However, the majority of concepts in this book, such as plagiarism, are not discussed in enough detail to merit my criticism.
AJP-LS-JPORPG analysis is also fraught with similar problems. While it starts off by discussing the three major courts in Japan, and then briefly discusses the administrative law system as well, it seems to go out of its way to compare the United States with Japan in regard to its litigation systems. For example, it points out one of the differences between American and Japanese lawsuits for negligence: the first is faster, more extensive, and less expensive. The second is longer and less costly. That seems a little odd to me.
Then there was the comparative study of a specific case study that the author, Mr. Nakayama, focuses on. His discussion is good, but then again, I think he might have done better if he had made more of an effort to explain what the judges did, why they reached different conclusions, and what their reasoning was based on. However, the review part of the book is very detailed and states all the pertinent information in simple English. This allows the reader to follow along with the review at the end of the book without having to worry about understanding Japanese. This, I believe, is a very good thing.
In reviewing this book, I found that Mr. Nakayama provides a thorough review of the case study and then goes into a detailed examination of all the relevant Japanese, administrative law cases that he considers. He also examines some international cases from the past and looks at both the merits of the plaintiffs’ case and the defense’s argument. I found the case study interesting, and the comparison of the American and Japanese judicial system was accurate. However, for all intents and purposes, the review is fairly thin.
I do find the author’s discussions of administrative law to be rather fascinating. I especially liked how he compared the administrative record to the actual history of the law. Japan has had many periods of rule over various islands, and the records do not begin to cover all of the changes that occurred over time. The author shows how successive governments have attempted to amend the Japanese Constitution, only to see the courts uphold the Constitutional amendments time again. This is not a very interesting or even enlightening part of the book, but it does provide some useful insights into how administrative law works.
In reviewing parts of the book that focus on cases tried before lower courts, however, I felt the text was a bit short on details. While the review points out some interesting comparisons and differences, it could have been shortened and made more helpful. It seems to me that for a case study of this magnitude, a better focus should have been on the actual cases heard by the lower courts. For that matter, I would have wanted a better appreciation of the nuances that go into preparing a proper case study and reviewing it for published purposes (which this is).
Overall, this is an excellent book about administrative law in Japan that any student of law or legal analysis will find extremely helpful. However, anyone wanting to write an essay on administrative law for a college class, or an essay for personal interest in Japan, will want to make sure they have a better grasp of the topic than what is presented here. That being said, this is a very helpful book for anyone who is interested in learning about administrative law and what specific features are unique to the legal system of Japan. There is also a short afterword dealing with criticisms of the case studies and legal systems of Japan and the United States. The bottom line is that anyone interested in taking a comparative analysis of the Japanese administrative law system will definitely find this to be an excellent text to research and learn from.