In April 2004, more than sixty law schools began operation in Japan. Legal education, previously treated as a combination of undergraduate education in law and extra-university training in professional skills, will now be concentrated in new professional law schools. The reforms of Japanese legal education are intended both to produce more attorneys in a nation that has a shortage of legally trained professionals, and to help increase the role of law in Japanese society generally.
In order for Japan's new Jaw schools to achieve their educational objectives, they must successfully address a host of conceptual, pedagogical and organizational challenges. Foremost among these challenges is making legal education professional by placing a focus upon legal reasoning. This Article, written by two Professors who have closely followed Japanese reforms, describes contemporary developments within Japanese legal education.