By Yuji Iwasawa
The impact international law has had on Japanese law has been substantial, especially in the field of human rights. The author of this volume, one of Japan's leading international lawyers, examines extensively the relationship between his country's domestic rules and regulations, and the numerous international treaties and conventions which it has ratified in recent years. Some changes were made to domestic laws in an attempt to make them conform with these international instruments, but individuals went to the courts to try to obtain further necessary modification. Such direct invocations of international law have met with little success, but the laws concerned are often amended at a later date, due to political pressure. The changes in domestic law thatsuch amendments have wrought, have improved the human rights situation in Japan, and have lead to a growing interest in international law within that country. The author pays particular attention in this volume to the laws governing sexual equality, the legal status of aliens, and the treatment of mental health patients, amongst others. The book details the changes that international law has brought in these areas, despite the skepticism of the Japanese courts regarding the validity of international human rights law as a source of law.