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Japan: Is a Sightseeing Trip by a Member of the U.S. Military Part of “Official Business”?

(Oct. 22, 2009) Japan's Board of Audit decided to recommend to the Ministry of Self Defense (MSD) that the MSD investigate the use of highway toll passes by members of U.S. troops stationed in Japan and define the “official purposes” for which U.S. troops are entitled to move between facilities free of tolls. Under article […]

Japan: Two Laws Revised to Protect Technology

(July 7, 2009) Two national laws were amended this year to protect the technology and trade secrets of firms in Japan. The amendment of the Unfair Competition Prevention Law was promulgated on April 30, 2009 (Law No. 30 of 2009). The old law did not punish acts of revealing business secrets for the purpose of […]

Japan: Major Reform on Fund for Road Improvements

(May 4, 2009) The revision of the Special Law for Financing Road Improvement Works was promulgated on April 30, 2009 (Law No. 28 of 2009). Since 1954, the Law has limited the spending of revenue from gasoline tax and other road-related taxes to be used outside of road-related expenditures. At the time of the Law's […]

Japan: National Public Official Retirement Allowance Law Amendment

(Jan. 28, 2009) The National Public Official Retirement Allowance Law was amended by the Diet (Japan's parliament), and the new version was promulgated on December 26, 2008 (Law No. 95 of 2008). The amended Law enabled the government to enforce the return of a paid retirement allowance from a retired official if a scandal is […]

Japan; Vietnam: Economic Partnership Agreement Signed

(Jan. 23, 2009) On December 25, 2008, Vietnam and Japan concluded an Economic Partnership Agreement; it is expected to come into effect early in 2009, following ratification by each party. It was signed in Tokyo by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Hirofumi Nakasone, and the Minister for Industry and Trade of the Socialist […]

Japan: Refueling Mission in the Indian Ocean Extended

(Dec. 19, 2008) Japan's Self Defense Forces have refueled other countries' vessels in the Indian Ocean to support the U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan since 2001, under Japan's limited-term anti-terrorism legislation (Anti-Terrorism Special Measures Law, Law No. 113, of 2001). When the original anti-terrorism legislation expired in November 2007 after several extensions, the Special Measures Law […]

Japan: Nationality Law Amended

(Dec. 17, 2008) The Diet (Japan's parliament) passed a bill to revise the Nationality Law on December 5, 2008. It was promulgated December 12 as Law No. 88 of 2008. Some parts of the amendment were effective upon the date of promulgation of the Law, and the rest will be effective 20 days later. The […]

Japan: Official Recognition of Ainu as Indigeneous People

(Sept. 5, 2008) The Diet (Japan's parliament) passed a resolution on June 6, 2008, to recognize the Ainu as an indigenous people. On the same day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura released a comment on the resolution, in which he acknowledged the suffering of the Ainu and recognized them as an indigenous people. There are […]

Japan: New Insurance Law

(July 2, 2008) The Diet (Japan's Parliament) passed the new Insurance Law on May 30, 2008. The old law was enacted in 1911. At that time, the legislature did not foresee the spread of injury and illness insurance, and so there have not been specific provisions for such insurance. The life insurance part of the […]