Ongoing Modernization of Japanese Company Law
In Japan of late, company law has been amended almost every year, and more than once in some years. On each occasion of such an amendment, the drafters have to write new stipulations in the literary style of a century or more ago. This is because company law constitutes an integral part of the Commercial Code of 1899. Statutory texts written in a pseudo-classical, non-spoken style have helped prevent people at large from making themselves familiar with company law. The Legislative Council is in the last stage of drafting a new company law. The cabinet is expected to submit the bill to the Diet in 2005. The bill, unlike revisions thus far, is to enact a statute embracing all types of corporations independent of the Commercial Code. The bill will be written in a colloquial style. Apart from the modernisation in the form described above, modernisation in the substance of company law is now in progress, and needless to say this is the more important aspect. This chapter looks back briefly at the history of Japanese company law to distinguish the 2005 modernisation from the rest of the revisions experienced during the period of over a century. It then focuses on major topics of the 2005 Bill. These observations are made in terms of corporate governance.
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