SoSe22_White Collar Crime and Corporate Scandals in Japan

Sommersemester 2022

SoSe22_White Collar Crime and Corporate Scandals in Japan

Welcome to the website of the Seminar


 "White Collar Crime and Corporate Scandals in Japan"


Prof. Vicki Beyer (Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo) & Prof. Moritz Bälz (Goethe University)


Face to Face Seminar:  June-24, 9:00 am  -  June-26, 4:00 pm

Room: RuW 1.101 (Campus Westend, RuW Building)



White collar crime encompasses various acts ranging from antitrust to tax evasion. It can be perpetrated by individuals or by corporate entities. While white collar crimes occur in all jurisdictions, the resulting corporate scandals in Japan are particularly infamous worldwide. In particular, the vast majority of white collar crimes in Japan are committed with the knowledge and/or complicity of those responsible for governance of the corporation involved, resulting in corporate scandals as well as the crime itself.

Why is this so? What is it about Japan’s corporate governance that seems to foster these corporate scandals? Are the scandals a result of corporate governance failure, or is there something about Japan’s criminal justice system that makes it ineffective at addressing white collar crime and corporate scandals? How does Japanese society react to these infractions? Are there underlying socio-cultural factors at work? What is the economic impact of these scandals?

This seminar will begin with an examination of the underpinnings of criminal law and criminal prosecution in Japan as well as outlining the basics of Japanese corporate governance. As much as possible both areas of law will be put in socio-cultural context. With these foundations, the course will then consider a number of specific corporate scandals in recent decades to facilitate improved understanding of the impact of white collar crime and corporate scandals on the Japanese legal system, economy and society. Since Japanese corporate law and corporate governance have been undergoing a substantial transformation in the last fifteen to twenty years, the course will conclude with consideration of the impact of that transformation, encouraging students to try to predict its effectiveness based on their learnings in the class.

Students are expected to proactively participate in discussion during class. They will also research and write papers on related topics and give in-class presentations on their research. Introductory materials will be provided via OLAT.

Professor Beyer has been working within the Japanese legal system for nearly four decades and brings to the classroom her deep understanding of Japanese law and corporate governance as well as the interaction of Japanese law and Japanese society.

The course will be co-taught with Prof. Moritz Bälz, professor of Japanese law and its cultural foundations at Goethe University.

This all-English seminar will be taught in an intensive format with sessions staggered to provide the students with time to absorb the material and conduct their research.

Requirements for Receiving Credit

Law students can take this course as seminar in the concentration (Schwerpunkt) Internationalisierung und Europäisierung or in the concentration Kriminalwissenschaften. Alternatively – or even in addition – the course counts as course in foreign legal terminology (fremdsprachige Rechtskenntnisse). Please, do not forget to register with "Prüfungsamt" according to the applicable rules. Grading will be based 1/3 on the oral performance (presentation of 15- 20 minutes (2/9) and participation in class discussions (1/9)) and 2/3 on the written paper (15-20 pages excl. references etc.). Deadline for submission of written papers is 31 August 2022 (searchable pdf by email to plus upload to e-center).

Students from Modern East Asian Studies (MEAS) can take the course as elective. Those students without a background in law are encouraged to make use of the introductory material provided on OLAT. Exam registration with PKS/Philprom via QIS/LSF is required. Requirements for credit as above, but grading will be based exclusively on the written paper (as the Study Rules do not allow for considering the oral performance). Exam registration: TBD via QIS. Withdrawal from examination: TBD via QIS. Submission of term paper: 30 August. Repeat submission of term paper: 30 September 2022.



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