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3132 Disputing Behavior and Judicial Policy in the Super-Aging Society: Preliminary Report on the Civil Justice Research Project in Japan

WG Civil Justice and Dispute Resolution

Room: C3.02

 

Contemporary Japanese society faces a formidable challenge, namely the challenge of “super aging society.” As of October 2016, the people who are 65 or older are as high as 27.3% of the population. It is expected that the proportion of aged population exceed 1/3 in 2035. The super-aging society will cause the increase of the number and the complexity of new types of disputes, e.g., guardianship, care/nursing/medicine, housing, family, asset/property management, pension, consumer protection, inheritance etc. But little evidence has been gathered about the realities of these problems.

With the special focus on people’s disputing and litigation behavior in the super-aging society, we started 5 years project of large-scale surveys (Civil Justice Research Project: CJRP) in 2016, comprised of many socio-legal scholars throughout Japan. CJRP conducts 2 nation-wide surveys through 2017 to 2018: Disputing Behavior Study (DBS) and Litigation Behavior Study (LBS). DBS is on people’s dispute experience and disputing behavior in their everyday life and conducted through November to December 2017. The sample consists of 12,000 individuals randomly selected from the national population. LBS is on people’s civil litigation behavior and will be conducted through January to March 2018. The sample consists of about 3,000 individual litigants and 2,500 lawyers randomly selected from 1,500 civil cases which completed in 2014. As an additional study of LBS, Internet survey for ordinary citizens will be carried out in February 2018.

This session aims to give preliminary report on these surveys, while comparing its results with those of the previous studies in Japan and in other countries.

Many developed countries will face the problems of aging society sooner or later. Many more countries share similar challenges with Japan in the 21st Century. CJRP will give many invaluable findings and theoretical suggestions to the global socio-legal studies in the field of empirical study on disputes and litigation in the [super-]aging society (organized by Iwao Sato).

 

Chair: Masaki Abe | Osaka City University; Shozo Ota | The University of Tokyo

 

Discussant:  Marijke ter Voert | WODC, Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security

Iwao Sato | The University of Tokyo

Masaki Abe | Osaka City University

Shozo Ota | The University of Tokyo

Disputing Behavior and Judicial Policy in the Super-Aging Society: Backgrounds and Research Design of the Civil Justice Research Project in Japan

 

Abstract

 

Contemporary Japanese society faces a formidable challenge, namely the challenge of “super aging society.” As of October 2016, the people who are 65 or older are as high as 27.3% of the population. It is expected that the proportion of aged population exceed 1/3 in 2035. The super-aging society will cause the increase of the number and the complexity of new types of disputes, e.g., guardianship, care/nursing/medicine, housing, family, asset/property management, pension, consumer protection, inheritance etc. But little evidence has been gathered about the realities of these problems.
With the special focus on people’s disputing and litigation behavior in the super-aging society, we started 5 years project of large-scale surveys (Civil Justice Research Project: CJRP) in 2016, comprised of many socio-legal scholars throughout Japan. CJRP conducts 2 nation-wide surveys through 2017 to 2018: Disputing Behavior Study (DBS) and Litigation Behavior Study (LBS). DBS is on people’s dispute experience and disputing behavior in their everyday life and conducted through November to December 2017. The sample consists of 12,000 individuals randomly selected from the national population. LBS is on people’s civil litigation behavior and will be conducted through January to March 2018. The sample consists of about 3,000 individual litigants and 2,500 lawyers randomly selected from 1,500 civil cases which completed in 2014. As an additional study of LBS, Internet survey for ordinary citizens will be carried out in February 2018.
This paper provides an overview of the backgrounds of CJRP and its research design as an introduction of the session: “Disputing Behavior and Judicial Policy in the Super-Aging Society: Preliminary Report on the Civil Justice Research Project in Japan.”

Masaki Abe | Osaka City University

A Nationwide Survey on the Experience of Disputes among Japanese People

 

Abstract

 

In this paper, I report the research design and the main findings of a nationwide survey on the experience of disputes among Japanese people.

This survey was conducted by a research group consisting of socio-legal scholars and sociologists in December 2017 mainly for the purpose of answering the following research questions. (1) What kind of troubles are Japanese people likely to encounter? (2) How and in what circumstances do those troubles evolve into disputes with those who are supposed to have caused those troubles and why? (3) How do Japanese people respond to troubles which have evolved into disputes? (4) How frequently do Japanese people involved in disputes seek advices of various professionals concerning how to deal with the disputes? (5) How do Japanese people who got advices from various professionals rate those advices and professionals who gave them?
In preparing the questionnaire, we paid special attention to those disputes which are experienced by elderly people and those which are experienced by family members of elderly people because they are just the family members of elderly people because the aging of Japanese society is rapidly progressing and we thought that this trend must have some implications for the experience of disputes among Japanese people.  The questionnaire we used for the survey, however, covers not only disputes rerated to elderly people but also many types of disputes which are unrelated to elderly people.  The survey itself was carried out by mailing the questionnaire to 12,000 Japanese people over 20 years old randomly extracted from the Basic Resident Register.
In this paper, I first explain the research design of this survey.  I show the basic structure of the questionnaire used for this survey and explain why such a structure was adopted.  Next, I show the main findings of the survey.  Some important characteristics of troubles, disputes, and advice seeking behavior in today’s Japanese society are pointed out.  Finally, I compare the findings of this survey with those of the survey conducted in 2006 by another research group in which some members of our research group had participated.  Change and continuity of the experience of disputes among Japanese people for about 10 years are shown.

Aya Yamaguchi | The University of Tokyo, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

An analysis on Japanese experiences of disputes involving elderly people

 

Abstract

 

Currently the percentage of people over 65 years of age is 27.3% in Japan. In this aging country, the number of elderly single households, elderly people with dementia, and elderly people receiving social aid are increasing. In addition, new legal systems such as adult guardianship law has created contract society. Those social/institutional contexts may produce legal issues involving elderly people such as guardianship, long term care, social security, elder abuse, as research on Elder Law have been suggesting (Dayton & Wood 2015).
However, previous studies found that elderly respondents tend not to seek for legal advice compared to younger people (Murayama 2009; Genn et al. 1999), suggesting that some barriers--physical/cognitive, financial, psychological, and informational barriers--may influence elderly people’s legal access. Also, because of the social situation such as increasing number of elderly people with dementia, some family may feel difficulty in finding or dealing with problems involving elderly people.
This paper presents results of Japanese Disputing Behavior Survey in 2017, with special focus on elderly people’s experiences of disputes and people’s experiences of disputes involving elderly people. First, the characteristics of disputes involving elderly people compared to the other disputes will be presented. Specifically, the differences in recognition of legal needs and advice seeking behavior between elderly people and the other generations will be examined. How the elderly found his/her legal needs will provide suggestions to overcome cognitive barrier against legal access and create policies targeting elderly people. Second, how the family member of the elderly deals with the problem involving the elderly will be analyzed. Throughout the analyses, the balance between the role of family member and the autonomy of the elderly will be discussed.
Finally, based upon the interpretation of the obtained results, tentative conclusions on the characteristic of problems involving elderly people in Japan will be provided.

Shozo OTA | The University of Tokyo

Takayuki II | Senshu University 

Survey of Civil Litigants and Their Lawyers 2018: Its Outline and Early Findings

 

Abstract

 

We will give a presentation on how behaviors of litigants and their lawyers have changed in the past ten years.
In order to investigate it, we are conducting the nationwide survey in Japan. We randomly sampled more than 1500 civil cases which completed in 2014, and gathered information about litigants and lawyers from judicial documents. We then conducted surveys on litigants which asked litigants how they used civil procedure, what they expected of civil litigation, and how they evaluate their judges, lawyers, and civil procedure. We also conducted surveys on their lawyers which asked their impressions about their clients. We even conducted surveys on ordinary people in order to compare views of former litigants with those of people without experience of litigation.
About ten years ago, we conducted similar surveys. Therefore, we can verify changes in behaviors of litigants and their lawyers by comparing our first survey and second survey. We are particularly interested in how changes in judicial system and Japanese society affect behaviors of litigants in the past ten years. During this period, judicial system and the society surrounding have changed significantly. The reform of the Japanese justice system took place, such as introduction of law school system and increasing number of lawyers. The Japanese society is aging rapidly and it has already become super-aged society. The aging has compelled Japan to introduce some new systems, such as the adult guardianship system which helps people who lost the ability to make rational judgment due to senile dementia.
In this paper, the authors will provide early findings from the surveys, which are planned to be conducted from January to March, 2018.

Daisuke MORI | Kumamoto University

Tomohiko MAEDA | Meijo University

Kiyoshi HASEGAWA | Tokyo Metropolitan University

How are Japanese people seeing the aging society as legal issues? Findings from Internet Survey of General Public Regarding Civil Litigation 2018.

 

Abstract

 

The aging population in Japan is presenting unprecedented challenges not only to society and industries, but also to legal and judicial system. Increasing late elderly population is prompting institutionalization or commercialization of adult guardianship. The vacant and decaying houses during and after last years of such elderly pose potential hazards both in urban and rural areas, which is inviting fundamental discussion over private property rights and administrative initiatives.
In our surveys of litigants, their lawyers, and ordinary Japanese people, we are also addressing some of those issues. For we have only small number of cases relating to issues of aging society in our random samples from court cases, we took a two-pronged approach to the aging society as legal problem. First, we included questions about how lawyers view issues of aging in their cases in our questionnaire for lawyers. Second, we addressed the issues about adult guardianship in our questionnaire for ordinary citizens.
In this paper, we will present our findings from the latter. Japanese legislation enacted the Act to Promote Use of Adult Guardianship lately in 2016. While Japanese judiciary streamlined adult guardianship system to address potential needs of the aging society, actual use of the system has been stagnant far below the estimated number of elderly losing their sound judgment.
In our survey of ordinary Japanese, we investigated the background of such low usage. We investigate people’s actual knowledge and general evaluation of adult guardianship system. We also conducted a survey experiment in our questionnaire, presenting differentiated scenarios to randomly divided groups of respondents to test our hypothesis about how Japanese people evaluate needs for adult guardianship in particular cases.

 

 

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