Civil Code Reform

About the Civil Code Reform(Law of Obligations)

The Japanese Civil Code was enacted in 1896. While partial amendments on the guarantee system were legislated along with modernization of the language of the Civil Code in 2004, the contents of the law of obligations which are mainly compiled in the Book III remain basically intact.


However, social economy in Japan has dramatically changed in various aspects according to the globalization of the market as well as developments of information technology and transportation measures. In addition, court practice has formed extensive case laws through interpretation and application of the Civil Code since its enactment.


Considering such state of affairs, it is considered that provisions of law of obligations in the Civil Code need to correspond to the changes of social economy. In particular, those provisions governing contract which are deeply relate to people’s daily life and economic activities need to be promptly reformed from the viewpoint of making them more understandable to the public through clarification based on current case laws.


Accordingly, on October 28, 2009, the Minister of Justice consulted with the Legislative Council of the Ministry of Justice, which is the council to study and deliberate basic law relating to civil, penal, and other legal business upon a request of the Minister of Justice, for the revision of the Civil Code (law of obligations) at the 160th meeting (Consultation No.88). In response to this consultation, the general assembly of the Legislative Council decided at the same meeting to establish “Working Group on the Civil Code (Law of Obligations)” for this mission.

Deliberation Status

English Translation of current Civil Code [PDF]