|Japanese Legal Research at the University of Washington
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In general, cases are much harder to locate than laws. This is especially true if you are looking for an English translation of a case. Cases are not cited or indexed in a format that is familiar to U.S. trained attorneys. Finding aids for cases in Japanese do not include an index of cases by the names of the parties. Instead, cases are indexed by the court, the date, and also by the citation to the statute at issue in the case. Electronic indexes are a boon, as they add "keyword" indexing, which allows the researcher to search by any word in the record for the case.
The library collects most important case reporters in Japanese, and all known translations of cases into English. It is likely that our collection includes most available cases. The problem is that often a case is mentioned in the media very soon after it is decided, but it may not be published until several months later; therefore the library will not immediately have the case.
Recently, the situation has improved somewhat with the new Supreme Court web site that includes recent Supreme Court cases, another page on the same site that includes summaries of recent Intellectual Property decisions, and a few other web sites with cases (see Court Decisions on the Web Resources page).