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Civil Code

(Mimpō). Body of private law adopted in 1896 that went into effect in 1898. With post-World War II modifications, the Civil Code remains in effect in present-day Japan. The code was the result of various movements for modernization following the Meiji Restoration of 1868. A legal code was required that would fill the needs of the new free-enterprise system that predominated with the dissolution of feudal landholdings. At the same time, the Japanese desired to present themselves to the world as a more modern nation in hope of renegotiating certain unfavourably balanced and often even humiliating treaties with Western nations. The resulting code was modeled on the German Civil Code. The code is divided into five books. Those on family and succession retain certain vestiges of the old patriarchal family system that was the basis of Japanese feudalism. It was in these sections that most of the postwar revisions were made. The writing of the code provoked considerable disagreement among segments of the Japanese legal and commercial communities, largely over how much Japanese custom should be included. (from "Japanese Civil Code." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2006. Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service. 19 Mar. 2006 ).

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