Rethinking Contract Practice and Law in Japan
Haley, John Owen
This article explores "the Japanese advantage" in the enforcement of ex ante contract commitments in comparison with the United States, arguing that ostensible convergence of Japanese and United States contract practice in on-going business relationships is based on very different assumptions and conditions. Writing in the early 1960s Takeyoshi KaWashima in Japan and Stewart Macaulay in the United States described prevailing views and practices related to business agreements. Their respective observations indicated a tendency in both countries to avoid formal, legally enforceable contacts. For over four decades scholars on both sides of the Pacific have tended view these observations as grounds for arguing for a convergence of contract practice. Recent research efforts have attempted to verify empirically such convergence. On closer examination, however, the conclusions reached by Kawashima and Macaulay rest on very different assumptions.