Akio Hoshi, ‘Interpretation of Corporate Acquisition Contracts in Japan: A Legal Transplant through Contract Drafting’

This article explores Japanese transactional lawyers’ attempts to transplant American legal practice concerning corporate acquisition contracts into Japan. Despite their extensive efforts to disseminate legal concepts originating from the common law into the Japanese legal community, their transplantation attempts produced somewhat unexpected results by the promoters of the transplant. Faced with unfamiliar drafting styles and legal concepts, Japanese courts interpreted American-style corporate acquisition contracts in accordance with traditional Japanese-style contract interpretation. As a result, attempts by Japanese practitioners at transplantation was incomplete. This incompleteness is attributable to their inattention to the differences in approaches to contract interpretation between Japanese and New York courts. New York’s approach is much more formalistic and literal than Japan’s. If fully aware, however, they could have filled the gap by using functional substitutes for American techniques of controlling adjudicators’ contract interpretation which would effectively operate under Japanese law. Japan’s experience confirms that a widely supported view in comparative law scholarship that transplanted law does not necessarily operate in the recipient jurisdiction as it did in its host jurisdiction is applicable to the transplantation of contract drafting practices.

Akio Hoshi, Interpretation of Corporate Acquisition Contracts in Japan: A Legal Transplant through Contract Drafting, Asian Journal of Comparative Law, https://doi.org/10.1017/asjcl.2021.9. Published online by Cambridge University Press: 2 September 2021.

First posted 2021-09-04 18:00:56

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