Japanese Civil Code (Law of Obligations)
Reform Commission


about Commission Draft Proposal Link



About the Japanese Civil Code (Law of Obligations)
Reform Commission and the Draft Proposal


The Japanese Civil Code was enacted in 1896. Although over one hundred years have passed since then, most part of the Code remains unchanged. While the language of the Civil Code was modernized in 2004, the contents of each provision, particularly those in the law of obligations remain basically intact.

"The Japanese Civil Code (Law of Obligations) Reform Commission" was established in October 2006 for the purpose of devising a "Basic Reform Policy (Draft Proposals)" so as to fundamentally reform the law of obligations in the Japanese Civil Code. The Reform Commission composed of twenty-six civil law professors, five commercial law professors, two civil procedure professors, and two officials from the Ministry of Justice. Four young scholars and other staff members supported administration of the Commission.

The Reform Commission is a purely private research group of academics who have been organized on their own volition, and its activities are independent from the Government. Although they were not commissioned by anybody to draft new law of obligations, they adopted the word "commission" to express its final goal of presenting, as a group, a set of coherent proposals apart from the academic convictions of each individual member.

During two and a half years the Reform Commission held 260 meetings spending far more than 1300 hours in total for deliberating the Draft Proposals. On April 29, 2009, the Reform Commission held a symposium called "The Symposium for Reform of the Civil Code (the Law of Obligations)" in Tokyo presenting the Draft Proposals. The Reform Commission emphasizes that these draft proposals are not draft provisions to be legislated as they are. A lot of polishing works are expected before becoming legal provisions. What the Reform Commission has pursued is to submit a set of policy proposals for drafting new provisions of the Law of Obligations.

On October 28, 2009, the Minister of Justice consulted with the Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice for the revision of the Law of Obligations. In response to this consultation, the official deliberation by the Working Group started in November. The Reform Commission expects that due considerations would be given to the Reform Commission's Draft during the deliberations by the Legislative Council.




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