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The Japanese like to sue, but they do not have to: An Analysis of Traffic Accident Disputes in Japan
January 31, 2024
Julien Schickling, Goethe University Frankfurt/DIJ Tokyo
Compared to other industrialized nations, the litigation rate for traffic accident disputes in Japan is remarkably low, leading to the belief that the Japanese tend to avoid taking legal action. This has sparked a debate about the ‘legal consciousness’ in Japanese society which has been fueled in particular by Takeyoshi Kawashima’s well-known articles on this subject. This view has been challenged through extensive research conducted in the 1990s by various scholars on the system for resolving traffic accident disputes in Japan. These findings suggest that the system for resolving traffic accident disputes in Japan works efficiently, rendering litigation unnecessary due to a high degree of standardization and the availability of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Julien Schickling’s presentation shed light on the system for resolving traffic accident disputes in Japan. He presented research findings from expert interviews conducted with judges, lawyers, insurance companies, and dispute resolution institutions in Japan. His discussion explored the reasons that contribute to the low litigation rate as stated by his study participants. In addition, he analyzed the rise in litigation rates for traffic accident disputes in Japan observed since the early 2000s, with the aim of providing comprehensive reasons for this shift. His discussion explored the extent to which the rise in litigation rates for traffic accident disputes is due to a change in the ‘legal consciousness’ in Japanese society.
In the event was attended by more than 40 people online and onsite. The Q&A session focused on the role of the police in civil proceedings, the impact of digitalization on dispute resolution, the nature of legal expenses insurance, and the number of judges in Japan.
Julien Schickling studied law at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. In May 2021, he passed the first state law examination with distinction. He completed his legal traineeship at an international commercial law firm in Tokyo, among other places. In September 2023, he passed the second state law examination with distinction. Since October 2023, he has been a PhD student at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. In his PhD project, he is researching the liability for wrongful death in German and Japanese tort law, especially in traffic accident disputes. He is currently a PhD student at the DIJ.