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Public and Private Justice: Redressing Health Care Harm in Japan


Japanese legal structures addressing health care-related deaths and injuries rely more on public law institutions and rules than do the common-law North American jurisdictions, where private law adjudication is predominant.

This Article explores four developments in twenty-first-century Japanese health care law. The first two are in the public law sphere: criminal prosecutions of health care personnel accused of medical errors, and a health ministry-sponsored "Model Project" to analyze medical-practice-associated deaths. The Article addresses a private law innovation: health care divisions of trial courts in several metropolitan areas. Finally, the Article introduces Japan's new no-fault program for compensating birth-related obstetrical injuries.