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Law and Institutions

The role of law in development

Political campaigning in a rural area (Indonesia)
A courthouse in Yala Province, Thailand
As Japan's political, economic, and social involvement with developing countries continues to increase, there is a growing need to study the legal systems of those countries at a variety of levels. With regard to business activities, in addition to knowledge of legal norms set forth by enacted laws, there is a growing awareness of the need to understand the actual implementation of law and legal consciousness of people in the said country. Japan's Official Development Assistance (ODA) Charter cites, as one of its basic policies, supporting the self-help efforts of developing countries based on good governance, by extending cooperation for their human resource development, institution building including development of legal systems, and economic and social infrastructure building. This cannot be accomplished without first accurately understanding the issues faced by recipient countries regarding their legal systems.
Current research and studies concerning legal systems in developing countries include the following: (1) understanding the legal norms of target nations by collecting and analyzing relevant laws and precedents. (2) analysis of how laws are implemented and how they impact society, and understanding the judicial system as well as legal system of individual areas of law. (3) analysis of discrepancies between the legal norms/institutions and how stakeholders actually understand and perceive these norms/institutions. With this knowledge as a base, further study can identify structural legal issues faced by target countries and, then, explore potential legal policy solutions.

A country's legal structure is fundamentally impacted by the state of its economic development as well as its indigenous society and culture. These legal structures, furthermore, are influenced by, in addition to domestic factors, external factors such as globalization and international relations. As such, research on legal systems of developing countries should take these contextual factors into account, if not focus specifically on them. For example, potential research topics could include analysis of how contextual factors such as economic globalization, regime change, regional cooperation, and international aid influence the legal system in a developing country or how their legal systems respond to domestic and international issues related to environment, consumers and labor issues, or on democratization, human rights and the rule of law. Given that deep understanding of the role of law in developmental processes is necessary for effective legal reform by the developing countries and for effective legal technical assistance by donor countries, further research and theorization regarding these issues needs to be carried out.

FY 2016/2017
  • IMAIZUMI Shinya (Asian law (Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries); international law; economic law)
  • HATSUKANO Naomi (Legal Studies, Policy Studies, International Development and Cambodia)
  • YAMADA Miwa (Asian Law, Law and Development, Dispute Resolution Systems)
  • KOBAYASHI Masayuki (Chinese Law, International Law, Disability Law)
  • NAKAGAWA Masahiko (Current Affairs in Korea)
  • CHIBANA Izumi (Asian Law(Philippines), Law and Development, Dispute Resolution System)
  • SATO Hajime (Political economy of development
    The role of law and institutions in economic development)
  • CHENG Fang-Ting (International Relations (IR), International Political Economy (IPE),
    Global Environment Issues (e.g. climate change) )
  • KASHIWABARA Chie (Finance, International Organization/Administration, Philippine Economy (especially in the financial sector))
  • YANAI Akiko (International Economic Law, International Development Law)
Books(IDE-JETRO) IDE Asian Law Series
New Publications
New Publications RSS
The Developing Economies
Volume 54, Number 4 (December 2016)
An English-language journal
The Developing Economies
Volume 54, Number 3 (September 2016)
An English-language journal
African Rural Livelihoods under Stress
Occasional Papers Series
South Asia, with more than 1.5 billion people, accounts for more than twenty per cent of the world’s population. Many countries in the region, such as
This volume explores what happened in the Asian transition economies of China, Vietnam and Myanmar from both macro and micro perspectives. These econo
Law, Development and Socio-Economic Changes in Asia
Development Perspective Series