Japan is struggling with an unlikely problem: Its people aren’t litigious enough.
Fifteen years ago, the nation kicked off a plan to double the number of lawyers. Officials thought they could breathe dynamism into society by mimicking the Western legal system, where courts are more involved in settling issues such as consumer safety and corporate malfeasance.
But Japan’s new lawyers have failed to make a winning argument for why they are needed. The number of regular civil cases filed each year hasn’t budged in a decade. With crime near a record low and bankruptcies plunging, many lawyers are pleading relative poverty.