The problems of medical malpractice litigation in Japan: The significant factors responsible for the tendency of patients to avoid litigation

Shoichi Maeda, Noriko Sakamoto, Koichi Nobutomo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The present research has demonstrated that the Japanese tendency to avoid medical malpractice litigation can be ascribed to Japan's medical malpractice litigation system, and not the Japanese legal consciousness. From this standpoint, the present research has made clear the specific problem areas of the litigation system by looking at all cases from the last 10 years in the main district courts. The total average time taken for medical malpractice litigation is 3.0 years - much longer than the average time for normal litigation. Furthermore, the average amount of money needed to bring a medical malpractice complaint was 2, 200, 000¥, far too much for the patient's family to bear. We have also demonstrated to what extent the amount is inversely related to the patient's age. Naturally, it is possible to bring a case without reliance on a lawyer, but in 90.0% of cases a lawyer was employed, and the success rate of litigants that had not employed a lawyer was 0%. Through the above discussion, we have show the present situation regarding time and costs in medical malpractice litigation, and it is suggested that these are the important reasons why medical malpractice disputants demonstrate a tendency to avoid litigation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalLegal Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Jan 1



  • Legal consciousness
  • Length of litigation
  • Litigation costs
  • Medical malpractice civil litigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects

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