Waseda University Law School (WLS): Tokyo, Japan

a. General Information

With a metropolitan‐area population of roughly 35 million, Tokyo is one of the largest cities in the world. It is a thoroughly modern metropolis with high‐speed trains and subways, soaring architectural icons of glass and steel, flashing anime imagery on colorful billboards, and vibrant shopping districts woven into its fabric. But Tokyo’s rich history is never far away. One can easily retreat into a small temple courtyard, stroll down a narrow street lined with small homes and shops, or relax in a park under a stand of swaying bamboo.

In the year 2007, Waseda University celebrated the 125th anniversary of its founding by Shigenobu Okuma, scholar and government leader. Waseda is one of Japan’s top private, co‐ educational institutions of higher learning. Founded as a college with three departments under the old Japanese system of higher education, it has since grown to become a comprehensive university with two senior high schools, five affiliated schools, and a School of Art and Architecture.

Waseda’s history has been colorfully interspersed with visits by great scholars, politicians, journalists and more, from all over the world. Holding true to founder Shigenobu Okuma’s ideal of harmony between Eastern and Western civilizations, Waseda continues to provide intellectual stimulation to its academic community.

In terms of both size and quality, Waseda University’s Law School may be said to be one of the leading professional law schools in all Japan. At present, it boasts more than 50 full‐time faculty members; and if part‐time lecturers are added to this figure, the total number would exceed 140. There are more than 400 students studying for a J.D. degree. Its former students are now playing prominent roles in the academic and legal professions, as well as in global affairs.

b. The Exchange Program

WLS has concluded partnership arrangements with law schools in foreign countries to provide our students with opportunities to study abroad and prepare for the globalization of legal services. At this point, our partner law schools in addition to Stanford include Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Fordham University, University of Illinois, University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, the University of Virginia, University of Washington, and University of California Hastings in the United States, York University in Canada, National Taiwan University, Academy of the Judiciary, Ministry of Justice in Taiwan, Ewha Womans University in Korea, Pantheon‐Assas Paris II University in France, Bucerius University, and University of Osnabruck in Germany. We are aiming to grow partnerships with other comparable law schools and legal training and research institutes around the world. Students at WLS are fortunate to have the opportunity to broaden their perspectives by interacting with exchange students from foreign institutions.

Download Information Sheet

c. Academic Calendar Fall 2023

Fall semester classes will start on October 5 (Thu) and the Orientation Session will be held on October 2 (Mon). It is advisable for students to arrive in Tokyo before the Orientation Session which is mandatory for all of exchange students. Students who will be enrolled only in fall semester can finish their study at WLS by the last class on December 25 (Mon).

Date(s) Event
Beginning of September Placement test of Japanese language course on web site – only for registration of Japanese language course of CJL
Mid-September Registration of Japanese language course of CJL
September 21 Fall semester begins
October 5 WLS classes begin
October 11 Course registration of WLS deadline
December 25 Last day of classes for exchange students
December 26 to January 8, 2024 Winter recess
January 29 to February 4 Exam period for students other than exchange students
February 5 to March 31 Spring vacation

d. Language of Instruction

In addition, the Center for Japanese Language of Waseda University (CJL) offers Japanese language courses from beginners to advanced learners. Exchange students do not need to pay for the Japanese language course fee. WLS courses for exchange students are offered in English. Most courses of WLS are two‐credit courses taught for fourteen weeks. Each class meets once a week, spending 100 minutes each time. Those SLS students who stay at WLS only during the fall quarter will be allowed to finish their study at WLS by the last class in December and earn full credits for enrolled WLS courses. Appropriate methods of evaluation will be arranged in order to compensate missed classes in January.

e. Eligible Courses

See section f.

f. English Language Courses

WLS courses for exchange students are offered in English.

The courses for exchange students previously have been as follows:

  • Pacific Settlement of International Disputes
  • Japanese Legal Culture
  • International Entertainment Law
  • Comparative Financial Law
  • Copyright Law in Japan
  • Human Rights Law in Japan
  • Civil Dispute Resolution in Japan
  • Civil Law in Japan
  • Criminal Justice in Japan
  • Introduction to Japanese Law (mandatory course)
  • Comparative Studies of Intellectual Property Law
  • Patent Law in Japan
  • Comparative Corporate Finance and Law (Keio University)
  • Start-up Company and Venture Capital Law (Keio University)
  • Law and Practice of International Business Transactions (Sophia University)

View the syllabus here.

Note: The courses are subject to change for Fall 2023.

g. Academic Requirements for Admission to the Exchange Program

Exchange students should be in good academic standing even though Waseda does not require a specific cumulative grade point average.

h. Standard Course Loads

WLS does not have a required course load for exchange students. The past exchange students, however, took as many courses as they can manage.

But please note that to maintain a “student” visa status, more than 10 hours a week (more than 6 courses) of classes must be taken.

i. Course Enrollment and Registration

Exchange students are allowed to “shop around” for suitable courses during the first week of a semester, after which they are promptly required to register.

j. Grading System

The instructor of each course will use a method of evaluation appropriate for a given course and an exchange student. Methods may include a written examination, an oral examination, or a research paper of approximately 15 double‐spaced pages for two credits. Either Japanese or English may be used. If an exchange student wishes to write a substantial research paper of more than 40 double‐spaced pages for additional two credits, he/she may take a supervised writing course, “Independent Study Paper.” This arrangement may be made through his/her faculty adviser with the consent of a supervising faculty member.

WLS will send official transcripts for fall semester courses by the end of February.

k. The Application Procedure

Nomination by the Home Institution
SLS will select and nominate students to Waseda Law School. Please be sure to read the Information Sheet before applying. Download the information and application forms here for Fall 2023.  

Required Documents for Nomination
The home institution must submit the following documents by March 31, 2023 for the nominated students. The Japanese government requires the following documents for the application for the immigration certificate, “Certificate of Eligibility.” Please note that nominees under exchange programs are exempt from Application Fee (JPY 35,000).

  1. A letter of nomination from the Dean of the home institution addressed to the Dean of WLS (Dean: Shuichi Furuya). This letter must include the names of nominees and their period of study at WLS.
  2. A completed application form for admission for each nominee, including a one-page statement of academic interest and background in Japanese law (Please download the form from the online data storage).
  3. A completed application form for the Certificate of Eligibility for each nominee (Please download the form from the online data storage). Please refer to the example to fill out the form. A photo should be sent separately by postal mail.
  4. A completed statement of source of funds for each nominee. Attach a bank account balance certificate (bank balance or documents showing the source of living expenses while in Japan). If you have a defrayer, please submit a completed “written oath for defraying expenses” additionally.
  5. An official transcript for each nominee of academic records from all of the post-secondary institution(s) in which an applicant is currently enrolled and was previously enrolled.
  6. Two photos of each nominee printed on gloss photo paper. The photo must be taken within 3 months before submission, against plain background, and sized 4cm high X 3cm wide. An electronic file is NOT acceptable.
  7. A photocopy of each nominee’s passport (photo and personal information pages).

Note: Additional documents may be required.

  • All of the application documents except No.3 (Application for the Certificate of Eligibility) should be submitted by postal mail. The No.3 documents MUST be submitted by email attachment (Excel file). Please send the Excel file to the office of Waseda Law School (law-school-gakumu@list.waseda.jp).

  • Regarding the application form for the Certificate of Eligibility, if there is anything unclear to fill in, please leave the column blank. In addition, the fourth and fifth sheets of the excel file for organization should not be filled in. After the official admission, around May-June, WLS would complete it, then apply for Certificate of Eligibility on behalf of the nominees at the Tokyo Immigration Bureau. It would take more than one month to receive the Certificate of Eligibility.

  • WLS will send the issued Certificate of Eligibility as soon as we receive it by EMS directly to the nominees so that you would be able to apply for student visa in your area in your country before your departure.

  • Please type or print clearly and complete all sections in English or Japanese.
  • Waseda Law School cannot make any special arrangements for those planning to enter Japan earlier. For more details about obtaining ”Student” visa, please refer to the part of “2. Visa” on the file “WLS Exchange Program Information_Fall2023”.
  • All of the original documents shown above must be sent by airmail or by express courier (FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc.) to:

    Exchange Program Coordinator
    Waseda Law School
    Waseda University
    1‐6‐1 Nishiwaseda
    Shinjuku‐Ku, Tokyo 169‐8050

Acceptance of Nominations
The Transnational Program Committee of WLS will examine applications and other documents. It is understood that nominations by the home institution will be honored under normal circumstances as long as required documents are submitted by the due date. Following acceptance by the Committee, WLS will send accepted students a “Letter of Acceptance” and information about Waseda and related matters in May or June. The information WLS will send includes: entry information or accommodations, etc. In June, WLS will apply to the Tokyo Immigration Office for a “Certificate of Eligibility” of each student required to obtain a student visa.

l. Application Deadlines

March 31, 2023.

m. Housing Information

The Residence Life Center (RLC) of Waseda University manages several private dormitories for exchange students. You will receive information about your housing arrangement from WLS or RLC office.

*Please be advised that Waseda University including WLS faces the serious problem regarding lack of accommodation for exchange students.

n. Visa/Immigration Information

Due to the regulations under the immigration law in Japan, a non‐Japanese exchange student is required to enter Japan with a valid visa of “Student.” As soon as WLS receives it from the Tokyo Immigration Office around July or August, the student’s “Certificate of Eligibility” will be forwarded to a student, who must then obtain a visa to attend Waseda University. This certificate needs to be submitted with a valid passport to a local Japanese Consulate for issuance of a visa. “Visa stamp” will usually be obtained within several weeks after application. Please be sure to obtain a student visa before departure.

It takes about four to eight weeks for WLS to receive the “Certificate of Eligibility” for each student from the Tokyo Immigration Office. Upon receiving the certificates, WLS will forward them to each exchange student by express and registered airmail. WLS expects to send these certificates in July or August under normal circumstances. Each exchange student is expected to report his/her summer mailing address so that the “Certificate of Eligibility” will reach him/her without delay. The student may apply for a student visa at a Japanese Consulate with a “Certificate of Eligibility” and a valid passport.

Exchange Students must enter Japan with the proper status of residence because people who enter Japan with a visa waiver status or a different status of residence have to leave Japan, and then re‐enter with a student visa. In addition, WLS cannot make any special visa arrangements for those planning to come to Japan earlier.

o. Fees

Students will pay their normal tuition to Stanford for the quarter during which they study at WLS.

p. Estimated Cost of Living

Duration Food and Rent Expenses Other Living Books and Miscellaneous Medical fees* Total
6 months ¥400,000 ¥350,000 ¥80,000 ¥20,000 ¥850,000
One year ¥800,000 ¥700,000 ¥150,000 ¥40,000 ¥1,690,000

*The amounts indicated are approximate fees in case students apply for the National Health Insurance Plan (Kokumin Kenkou Hoken) in Japan.

q. Health Insurance Requirements

Student visa holders are obliged to participate in the National Health Insurance Scheme of the Japanese Government. The insurance covers 70% of your medical charges.

Please see the International Student Handbook here.

r. Program Contacts/Advisors at Waseda

Classrooms and the office of WLS are located in Ono Azusa Hall (Building No. 27; see our web site address below). The office is on the first floor and is open 10:00–16:00 Monday through Friday. WLS will be closed between August 10–20. Please contact the office when you arrive in Japan:

Ms. Mayu Kosumi
Waseda Law School
1‐6‐1 Nishi‐waseda, Shinjuku‐ku
Tokyo 169‐8050
Phone: +81‐3‐5286‐1678
Fax: +81‐3‐5286‐1720
Email:  law-school-gakumu@list.waseda.jp