Q: I have heard that litigation bureau has been set up. What does the bureau do in the ﬁrst place?
A: Litigation is the process of ﬁling a motion with the court, making a claim, and/or bearing testimony on behalf of the national government. In litigation, the national government is the party (as plaintiff or defendant). The Ministry of Justice uniformly and appropriately handles these administrative work for lawsuits.
Lawsuits in which the national government is the party include an action for state compensation on the grounds of illegal activities of government employees who exercise public power or defects in installation and maintenance of public structures, civil lawsuits regarding management of government property, and administrative lawsuits to seek nullification or reversal of administrative punishment. The Ministry of Justice properly handles those lawsuits in cooperation with ministries and agencies which govern administrative work for lawsuits.
Among the lawsuits, there are many serious cases that may affect the basis of politics, diplomacy, public administration, and economics in the country and cases that may raise new social or legal questions. Complex and difficult cases have been submitted throughout the country. In particular, large-scale class action lawsuits:, lawsuits of the state compensations associated with the accidents of the nuclear power plant; lawsuits concerning medicine and public health; environmental hygiene lawsuits concerning pollution; lawsuits that seek nullification of permission or punishment in relation to operations of airports, dams, roads, nuclear power plants and related facilities or seek an injunction against operations; and lawsuits that demand compensation for damage caused during the World War II, have attracted remarkable attention from the society.
To properly make a claim and bear testimony about those lawsuits from the standpoint of the national government contributes to the realization of proper settlement based on the law and evidence. By making contributions to this end, the maintenance of suitable balance between the benefits of the entire nation and the rights and benefits of individuals is ensured and administrative principles is expected to be followed based on the law. The Ministry of Justice is striving for appropriate and prompt pursuit of lawsuits in order to meet people’s expectations and demands for justice as an organization which plays a role in the judicial process.
Also, the litigation bureau is responsible for contributing to the appropriate settlement of legal matters, as well as preventing disputes by stating appropriate legal opinions from the perspective of the country as a whole.