Second interview to young legal scholars majoring in Japanese law.
李 貌 (Mao Li)
Introduce yourself in 50 words.
- I am Li Mao, from Hunan Province China, studying both Japanese law and Chinese law as a doctoral student in the Schools of law and politics of the University of Tokyo.
What led you to Japanese law? Didn’t you know that Japanese do not like the law?
- I just want to know how Japan and its economy become so strong since Meiji Restoration. Does it relate to Japanese law, although it is very influenced by Western law such as American law and German law? Japan has experienced significant economic growth since Meiji Restoration. Although Western law such as American Law and German Law made a great difference, I am still interested in the role of Japanese law in the development of Japanese society and economy.
I did not know that Japanese do not like the law. Why?
Tell us something about your current research: your subject, why did you choose it, your approach, etc.
- My research interest lies in taxation, especially taxpayers’ rights in Japan, China and US. Without protection of taxpayers’ rights, the power of government, especially of the Revenue Office cannot be restricted, and then the rule of law will be an aerial castle.
My study examines not only the procedure of tax collection, but also the way to supervise tax use, especially regulation and legislation.
What were the most challenging problems that you faced in your research?
Can you tell us something about your results so far?
- The most challenging problem is that there is a shortage of funds for me to pursue my research. I’m afraid that I have not made any mature work.
Is there anything you find really “strange” in the Japanese legal system?
Anything you think should be changed? What instead is a strength of the Japanese legal system, that should inspire other countries?
- Japan is the only country in OECD which has no taxpayers’ charter, and the legislature has no intention to develop one. I think it is very strange.
Japanese do well in studying foreign legal systems, and then discard the dross and select the essence, to benefit its own system.
Mark West’s book presents some aspects of “Law in Everyday Japan”. You’ve been living in Japan for several years: do you have any anecdotes to tell about everyday law in Japan?
- No, I have not experienced such any anecdotes.
Have you worked in a Japanese law office/firm? If so, can you tell us something about your experience?
- No, I have not.
What is the situation of Japanese (legal) studies in your home country?
- There is still a long way to go.
Tell us your 3 favourite works on Japanese law.
(Kitano Hirohisa, Sozei ho Genron [General Theory of Tax Law])
(Kaneko Hiroshi, Sozei ho [ Tax Law])
(Omura Kiyoshi, Kazoku ho [Family Law])
Your advice to a law student with an interest in Japan(ese law).
- Endure loneliness and dull life, after blowing out all sands, you will find the gold.
Thank you very much for your interesting insight on Japanese tax law: an original and often neglected topic.