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Japan first came into contact with the world of Western law one and a half centuries ago. At that time Japan adopted the civil law system of continental Europe. Since then, the Japanese people have been persistently trying to adapt the Western legal system to contemporary social and cultural conditions within Japan. After World War II, Japan also received several aspects of the Anglo-American common law system. Nowadays, the Japanese legal system, which was established after a long history of conflict and exchange between the two different cultures of Japan and the West, is regarded within the legal profession and the legal academy as being highly unique and effective.

As a result, every year Japanese law schools attract a large number of students, from other Asian countries in particular, who are interested in acquiring knowledge of Japanese law and adapting it for use in their own countries in turn. By encouraging their academic efforts, Japanese law schools are now playing an essential role in building a solid and friendly relationship between Japan and other Asian countries.

However, the language barrier, which is unfortunately quite high, has long prevented a number of enthusiastic students from studying this unique and interesting legal system. We are working to improve this situation by offering more courses on Japanese law in English, so that more students may obtain easier access to an understanding of the Japanese legal system and legal culture. We consider this an essential part of our academic mission. We sincerely hope that you will come to Osaka to be a part of this significant project. It will be a great help in our efforts to continue the development of a broader understanding of Japanese law.

For students who want to study Japanese law at the School of Law as exchange students, there are two undergraduate short-term non-degree exchange programs at Osaka University: the International Legal Studies Program (ILSP) and the Osaka University Short-term Student Exchange Program (OUSSEP).

Students who want to study Japanese law intensively during one semester should choose ILSP, in which several courses are offered in English mainly during the first [spring] semester (from April to August). By adding some international exchange subjects on Japanese culture and society to those courses, students can earn more than 15 credits in a semester without requiring a facility with Japanese. Some of the instructors are native speakers of English.

For students who want to study at Osaka University for a full academic year, on the other hand, the full-year OUSSEP may be a better choice. OUSSEP is not a program designed specifically for students majoring in law, but it contains some courses on law. Students enrolled in OUSSEP can join several out-of-classroom activities and there is greater opportunity for making lasting relationships with other students, both from Japan and from other countries.

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