Department of Law

We foster the abilities to reevaluate and resolve issues from a legal viewpoint and to create better-ordered social systems

Imagine what conflict resolution would be like in a society without laws. Outcomes would surely favor the powerful, and not just the physically strong but those with the financial resources to hire soldiers. A mafia movie may also give you some idea. The scenario would be quite dystopic. Laws exist to prevent people from relying on physical forces to resolve conflicts. While we may not live in an ideal world, laws are a crystallization of wisdom for building a better world.

Characteristic of the Department 1 / The Department of Law is not only for becoming a legal professional; it is for mastering the disciplines needed for handling legal matters

Studying law is not merely for those who wish to become judges, public prosecutors, and lawyers. Studying law is also beneficial for those who would like to work at local and national governmental offices and the legal departments of private companies. Learning law can also be useful for those who wish to work at NGOs or other similar organizations. It also serves you to become more sensible citizens in the society. At the Department of Law, students gain fundamental legal knowledge as well as a legal way of thinking. A branch of an academic area is called a discipline. The discipline of law is more established than other academic disciplines, such as that of literature or sociology. The existence of the national bar examination is an indication of the solidity of legal study as an independent academic discipline.

Characteristic of the Department 2 / The Department of Law also offers advanced learning based on foundational knowledge of law

The Department places significant weight on essay-style examinations in order to make sure that students acquire fundamental knowledge of law. However, the Department also offers small-sized classes as an advanced learning environment. With a limited number of participants in each class, students learn that there are no predetermined answers to any social issue through group discussion and debate. Small-sized classes are also beneficial to accommodate individual students’ academic interests. The Department of Law strives to not let students be confined to certain specialized fields, but rather to enable students to broaden their horizons and to wield skills in problem assessment, problem-solving, conflict prevention, and social system-designing.

Characteristic of the Department 3 / The Department of Law also produces talent for financial and other sectors

As stated above, the Legal Professional Program established by the Department of Law is not only for students who wish to become legal professionals. It is certainly a preparation for those who will go on to graduate law school and pursue that path. However, legal studies are also essential for working in specialized professions related to law, such as civil servants at the national or local level or employees in the legal departments of private companies. Learning law can also be useful for working at NGOs or other similar organizations. Private companies, especially those in the financial sector (banking, insurance, etc.), are intimately involved in legal issues. As a result, many graduates of the Department go on to work in the financial sector, as well.
The Department is suitable for those who wish to…
It is often said that you study something that has a single correct answer in a high school, while you study something that has no correct answer to at a university. This is generally true in the sense that there is often no single right answer to issues dealt with in legal education. However, there are definitely wrong answers. The national bar examination, the standard test on knowledge of law, is established to measure one’s ability to reach the point where right and wrong are decided without setting foot on the wrong side. The only way for you to train this ability is to build knowledge step by step. Although flashes of genius may do wonder, students who can put in steady effort will be especially well-suited for the Department of Law.

Four-Year Curriculum (offered in Japanese only)

For details about the Legal Professional Program, see ”Legal Professional Program and Early Graduation System”

Message from Academic Staff

The Civil Code is a mirror of society:
Let’s learn changes in our society by studying the revisions to the Civil Code

Haruna Fujisawa, Professor of Law Courses to teach:
Civil Law /Secured T ransactions

Upon the revisions to the Japanese Civil Code on April 1st, 2022, the legal age for adulthood was lowered from 20 to 18. Unlike before, now all students who enrolled in the undergraduate programs at universities are adults. As celebrated in the traditional coming-of-age ceremonies, becoming an adult is a happy event. However, when a person becomes an adult, they are no longer protected by the provisions in the Civil Code applicable to minors. With the lack of legal protection, more high school and college students may get involved in contractual disputes and other legal trouble than before.

In the Department of Law, students will learn the Civil Code and related laws, from the basics to in-depth, and will acquire abilities to help resolve legal problems that arise in our increasingly complex contractual society. Such abilities will help you and others once you go out into the world.

Beside the revision to the Civil Code related to adulthood, many other revisions were made to the Civil Code in recent years. While the Japanese Civil Code had not seen major revisions since its enactment in the Meiji Era (1868‒1912) except for post-war revisions to family law, various changes in the Japanese society, such as globalization and declining birthrate, have called for changes in the Civil Code. By studying the Civil Code, students learn not only what is in its provisions, but how to resolve issues in our society using the Civil Code as a tool to solve them. With that in mind, now is an exciting time to study the Civil Code. Since graduate school, I have been researching the area of property law and law on security interests in the Civil Code. Since revisions to these areas are currently being discussed as well, I myself get to feel the excitement in researching in the areas. I would like to share that with you all in my lectures and through lots of open discussion with you.

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