To the Editor

Back to Contents of Issue: September 2003

The Editor's page

by James Montagu

Dear Mr. Kelts,

Your August issue threw up an interesting juxtaposition of articles. It was fascinating to read first about pachinko relying on police turning a blind eye to crime, and then to read separately that Japan is planning to triple the number of lawyers.

You point out that Japan, as a country, has a relatively small number of lawyers, but predict that this level will quickly rise. I disagree. The obvious contrast here is with the United States. But the implication that it is the industry that leads the way is surely wrong. The surging number of lawyers in the US is the direct result of the country being so litigious. Japan is nowhere near as trigger-happy when it comes to suing. Corporations and individuals have for years been able to get away with assuming a much higher litigation threshold than anywhere else in the developed world. The Japanese government's belief that, just because they have thousands more lawyers, a new social pattern will emerge falls into the well-trodden category of "big ideas with little chance of success."


-- James Montagu

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