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Japan: Active Volcanoes Special Measures Act Amended

(Sept. 11, 2015) In September 2014, Mt. Ontake, located in central Japan, erupted and resulted in the loss of 57 lives. (Mount Ontake Volcanic Eruption, NHK World (Oct. 27, 2014).) Experts called for improved measures for managing government reactions to eruptions. (Id.) In response, the government discussed enhanced countermeasures. (Disaster Management in Japan, Cabinet Office […]

Japan: Regulation of Heat Supply Business Relaxed

(Aug. 19, 2015) To reform energy-related businesses in Japan, several laws were amended and promulgated on June 24, 2015. (Act Amending Electricity Business Act and Others, Act No. 47 of 2015, text of the bill that was enacted without change, House of Representatives website (in Japanese).) One of the amended laws is the Heat Supply […]

Japan: Voting Age Lowered from 20 to 18

(June 24, 2015) The Public Office Election Law was amended by Japan’s legislature and promulgated on June 19, 2015 (Act No. 43 of 2015, text of the bill, House of Representatives website (in Japanese)). The amendment lowers the voting age from 20 to 18 years of age. The amended Law will be effective one year […]

Japan: Horse Racing Act Amended

(June 16, 2015) Japan’s amended Horse Racing Act was promulgated on May 7, 2015. (Horse Racing Act, Act No. 158 of 1948 (amended by Act No. 18 of 2015), text of amendment bill, The House of Representatives website (in Japanese).) When the amendment becomes effective within six months of its promulgation, the Minister of Agriculture […]

Japan: Supreme Court Limits Responsibility of Parents

(June 12, 2015) Japan’s Supreme Court ruled on April 9, 2015, that the parents of a boy were not liable for a motorcycle accident caused by a soccer ball that was kicked out of the school grounds onto a street by their son. (Heise 24 (ju) 1948 (S. Ct., 1st petite bench, Apr. 9, 2015) […]

Japan: Flood Prevention and Sewerage Service Acts Amended

(June 11, 2015) Flood damage cost 410 billion yen (about US$ 3.3 billion) in Japan in 2013. (Press Release, On the 2013 Total Cost of Flood Damage (Mar. 27, 2015), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) (in Japanese).) Under the current Flood Prevention Act (Act No. 193 of 1949, amended by Act No. […]

Japan: Sports Agency Established, Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics Special Act Enacted

(June 5, 2015) The Diet (Japan’s parliament) has adopted two acts that are designed to support preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. One is an amendment to the Act on Establishment of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT); it was promulgated on May 20, 2015. (Act No. 21, 2015, […]

Japan: New Urban Farming Promotion Basic Act

(June 4, 2015) Japan’s Urban Farming Promotion Basic Act was promulgated on April 22, 2015. (Act No. 14 of 2015 (text of bill), House of Representatives website (in Japanese).) The Act confirms that urban farming is beneficial for the society: to provide a source of fresh and safe products; to give urban residents the opportunity […]

Japan: Supreme Court Upholds Punishment for Sexual Harassment

(Mar. 2, 2015) On February 26, 2015, Japan’s Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Osaka High Court, which had itself reversed an Osaka District Court judgment approving suspension and demotion as punishments for two male managers who repeatedly verbally sexually harassed female employees. (2014 (Ju) No. 1310, S. Ct., 1st petite bench (Feb. 26, […]

Japan: Act on Protection of Specially Designated Secrets

(Jan. 23, 2015) The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets (SDS Act) that was promulgated on December 13, 2013, became effective on December 10, 2014. (Act No. 108 of 2013, Japanese Ministry of Justice online database (in English).) Under the Act, the head of an administrative organ designates secrets that satisfy the following […]