Japan-side expat Timothy Langley on why to avoid the Japanese legal system.

A nice YouTube presentation. Langley explains what a “bengoshi” is, and what they are not.

It’s advertisement, so of course the focus is on why a foreign advisor is a better counsellor than a Japanese barrister. But the underlying message is that you have no chance as an outsider, trying to get justice in Japan. That may seem obvious to the outside observer, but quite often it’s not obvious to the expats in Japan. They seem to think that because most people are generally nice in Japan, that if there were ever any need for the assistance of the court system there, that it would, logically, be fair. No no no.

Langley has a couple others of these videos out, with modest viewership. However, they are all very interesting, and shed some light on topics where light is due.

Langley, as he says, is not a bengoshi and does not practice Japanese law. I know that he was a member of the Georgia bar at one time.


5 Replies to “Japan-side expat Timothy Langley on why to avoid the Japanese legal system.”

  1. (Although obviously self-serving,) Mr. Langley’s observations of “bengoshi” vs lawyers are spot on and 101% the Truth. He may not state it directly, but it is obvious that given the choice between spending 10 million yen ($100,000 USD) on bengoshi and spending 1 million yen ($10,000 USD) on yakuza for conflict resolution, the yakuza/gangsters will always be more effective.

    (PS: Don’t comment very often here, but I truly enjoy following your law/tax posts as they relate to Japan, which I find always insightful even though I have 20+ years of working in office of the president of Hitachi Japan.)

    1. I took the part about the yakuza to be half-joking. Seriously though, there are very few “bengoshi”, as commenters on Japan often point out, but there are countless number of mediators within that country.

      Thanks for your compliment!

  2. Thank you for blog-posting on my bengoshi Youtube. The yakuza inclusion was not half-joking and in fact, this is serious stuff… and I dwelt long on even mentioning it… because it is creepy. But the progeny of the word (which is practically taboo these days), is “yaku ni sawaru”…. or sitting easily…. someone who is is just a “ne’r do well”. More anciently, the word has roots to those numerous people when, in the transition of cultures, they lost allegiance to their Lord (or were ejected) but still carried a ceremonial sword. This dynamic is in fact repeated these days with fellows in the police force who have had their own falling-out, and their career choices are similar. But anyway, becoming truly versed in Japan requires an understanding of this aspect of contemporary Japanese society. You cannot say afford to say you are fluent in Japanese if you have failed to master all four of the required alphabets: similarly, you cannot truly claim overall familiarity with today’s Japan without understanding this slightly darker aspect of Japan. By some estimates, close to 10% of the national economy is related to it in some form or manner. Check-out Jake Adelstein’s tremendous body of work. I know you already know this stuff but thank you for allowing me to elaborate a tiny bit. And again, thank you for the mention.

    1. Hello Timothy, that’s why I said “half joking”. I realize there’s a serious side to organized crime in Japan. But the other side of the coin is that most countries have this element in there, too.

      Thanks for your elaboration, and for your video about ways to avoid the Japanese court system. Particulary, explaining that the system isn’t quite the same as the adversarial, common-law system that many people from the Anglosphere are used to.

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