Japanese Legal Research at the University of Washington
ワシントン大学の法律学校アジア法学部門での 日本の法律研究

Updated May 03, 2016 | Please send comments to Rob Britt: rrbritt@uw.edu

Finding Laws

See also finding laws on the web: | In English | In Japanese


Depending on the information you have about the law you are looking for, different tools may be used to find it. For example, do you have the Japanese title? Do you have the law number and date? Or do you only have an English translation of the title, or perhaps only an idea of what the law is about and when it passed?

With the name of the law and its number and date (for example: 平8.4.6法109民事訴訟法) = Law no. 109 of 1996 (Code of Civil Procedure), you can use the tools listed below to find the law. These tools (indexes) list laws by both their Japanese title and by their law type, number and date. Major types of laws referred to by citations include:

Type of Law

Citation Form

In Japanese

In English

法律 (Hōritsu)

Statutes; Acts of the Diet

法 (Hō)

規則 (Kisoku)

Regulations; Rules

規 (Ki)

命令 (Meirei)


命 (Mei)

政令 (Seirei)

Cabinet Order

政 (Sei)

条約 (Jōyaku)


条 (Jō)

最高裁判所規則 [Saikō Saibansho Kisoku]
(Supreme Court Rules)
Supreme Court Rules" are not strictly speaking laws. They are the Court's internal guidelines governing the actions of judges and judicial authorities. On the Supreme Court's website, these rules are presented for many detailed subjects (such as "Criminal Compensation Rules," "Corporate Restructuring Rules," and "Family Deliberation Rules." The many sets of court rules are listed on the website under the four broad headings Civil Case-related, Criminal Case-related, Family and Juvenile Case-related. Click here for a link to the website.

    Finding Aids

  • In English

    • Bibliography on English-translated texts of Japanese laws and regulations = 日本法令英訳書誌 [Nihon hōrei eiyaku shoshi] / 編集国立国会図書館. ("Japanese Laws in English")
      Database created by the National Diet Library in Japan. Has over 8000 records for English translations of Japanese laws in a variety of sources. Available in the East Asian Law Department of the Gallagher Law Library. January 2006 updated edition is now available in the Reference Office and East Asian Law Department

    • Japanese laws in English : an index to the EHS law bulletin series (2nd Edition) / compiled by Robert R. Britt.
      Marian Gould Gallagher Law Library Research Study Series No. 11
      Provides index to the EHS law bulletin series, the most comprehensive collection of translations into English of Japanese laws.
      How to Order a Copy
      KNX12 .E37 Index 2000 at CLAS (CLAS (Classified Stacks)), REF (Reference).

    • Foreign Law Guide: Japan
      Click "Japan" in the country llist
  • In Japanese
    • 日本法令索引 | Nihon Hōrei Sakuin
      National Diet Library's Index to Japanese Laws and Regulations
      Includes: 現行法令, 廃止法令, 制定法令, 法律案, 条約承認案件, 横断検索

    Collections of Laws

    (See also Laws in English and Laws in Japanese on the Web Resources Page)
    • In English

      • EHS law bulletin series, Japan.
        This is the most comprehensive collection of English translations of Japanese laws.
        KNX12 .E37 REF (Reference), CLAS (Classified Stacks)
        List of laws | How to purchase EHS
      • Doing business in Japan / general editor, Zentaro Kitagawa.
        Includes commentary on business related law, plus translations of some relevant statues.
        KNX920 .D64 1980 at REF (Reference)
      • Commercial laws of the world
        K1004.15 1976 at Reference Area.
      • Tax laws of the world.
        K4504.15 1974 at Reference Area.
    • In Japanese
      • 法令データ提供システム | Hōrei dēta teikyō shisutemu
        Free Japanese Government Website with the full text of all the current laws
      • 法令全書 | Hōrei zensho
        Monthly publication. Text of all new laws and treaties, Amendments to existing laws as they come out. Library has from 1867-2015.
        KNX12.H67 at CLAS (Classified Stacks)
      • 官報 [Kanpō]
        Government gazette. Table of contents to each volume

        KNX7 .J36 1952-1995
        See also
      • 六法全書 [Roppō zensho]
        (This annual publication serves as a "deskbook"; It is a collection of important laws as amended through the publication date.)
        KNX15 .R66 at CLAS (Classified Stacks) Current Issue: REF (Reference)
      • 模範六法 [Mohan roppō]
        (This is another annual publication consisting of a selection of laws. Mohan Roppo also includes citations to relevant cases for many laws.)
        KNX15 .M63 at CLAS (Classified Stacks). Current Issue: REF (Reference)
      • 最高裁判所規則集 [Saikō Saibansho kisokushū]
        (Collection of Supreme Court Rules at the Supreme Court website)

    Collections of Treaties

    (See also Treaties on the Web Resources page)
    • In English
      • The Japanese annual of international law.
        New treaties
        KZ21 .J37 at CLAS (Classified Stacks)
      • U.S. treaty indexes, for treaties with the United States
    • In Japanese
      • 条約集二国間・多数国間 [Jōyakushū. Tasukokukan]
        Multilateral treaties
        KZ985.3.J69 at CLAS (Classified Stacks)
      • 条約集二国間・二国間 [Jōyakushū. Nikokukan]
        Bilateral treaties
        KZ985.3.J693 at CLAS (Classified Stacks)
      • 法令全書 | Hōrei zensho
        Chronological; must know date of treaty

Connect with us:

© Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved University of Washington School of Law

4293 Memorial Way Northeast, Seattle, WA 98195