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

East Asian Law Department
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Finding Laws (in Print)
(Updated November 26, 2013)


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.

  • Laws In English

    • 日本の国内法の英訳 = English Translations of Japanese Laws (Web)
      (This is a useful collection of links to English translations of over 100 Japanese laws.)

    • 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. See ordering information at: http://lib.law.washington.edu/pubs/jle/index.html)
      KNX12 .E37 Index 2000 at CLAS (CLAS (Classified Stacks)), REF (Reference).

    • Japan Documentation Center
      (includes the text of some laws.)

    • Kodansha encyclopedia of Japan. 1st ed. 9 volumes.
      (Includes the text of many laws, and references to famous cases and other important topics concerning law in Japan. Has index for entire set, with laws listed by Japanese name.
      Online Version Available
      DS805 .K633 1983 at REF (Reference)

    • Foreign Law: Current sources of Codes and Basic Legislation in Jurisdictions of the World (1989- ) / Thomas H. Reynolds and Arturo A. Flores,
      (see Japan in the Asia volume [v.3A]; organized within this section by subject area)
      K38.R49 1989 at REFERENCE OFFICE

    • Marian (On-line catalog)
      (search for laws by name (English or Japanese) as books cataloged separately; Note that laws are "entered" under the name of the country, Japan)

  • Laws In Japanese

    • 日本法令索引 [Nihon hōrei sakuin] = Index to the Japanese laws & regulations in force
      KNX9.5 .N53 REF (Reference)

    • The Internet
      (Use web search engines to look for laws by title in English or Japanese. Try Google, for example:)

    • Marian (On-line catalog)
      (search for laws by name (English or Japanese) as books cataloged separately; Note that laws are "entered" under the name of the country, Japan)

Collections of Laws
(See also Laws in English and Laws in Japanese on the Web Resources Page)

  • In English

  • 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)
      (See: Web Resources Page)

    • 現行日本法規 [Genkō Nihon hōki]
      (This loose-leaf publication has over 100 volumes, and is a very comprehensive up-to-date collection of Japanese laws.)
      KNX15.G46 at CLAS (Classified Stacks).

    • 法令全書 [Hōrei zensho].
      (This monthly publication gives the text of all new laws and treaties, and also amendments to existing laws as they come out. We have a complete run of HZ, going back to 1867.)
      KNX12.H67 at CLAS (Classified Stacks)

    • 官報 [Kanpō]
      (Chronological; also has table of contents to each volume)
      (The library no longer collects this title, as it duplicates other materials.)
      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.
      (Lists new treaties to which Japan is a party)
      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)