Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This article critiques the simple black/white categorisation of mainstream versus alternative dispute resolution, and argues that what is needed is a cartography of dispute resolution institutions that maps the full range of approaches and traces their interaction. It sketches the first lines of such a map by describing two examples of conflict resolution in Japan. Neither can justly be called “alternative”, yet neither fits the mould of what might be called mainstream or classical dispute resolution. One, judicial settlement, focuses on process; the other, compensating victims of the Fukushima disaster, engages a specific event. Together, they help to illustrate why the term ADR is so unhelpful in our effort to classify and analyse conflict domestically and cross-culturally, and provide some insight into the rich array of methods that people use to settle their disputes.


Comparative law, cross-cultural comparison, dispute settlement, wakai, judicial dispute resolution, mediation, arbitration, legal profession, lawyers, judges, caseload, clearance, disaster victim compensation

Publication Title

Formalisation and Flexibilisation in Dispute Resolution

Publication Citation

In Dispute Resolution--Alternatives to Formalization, Formalization of Alternatives (Moritz Bälz & Joachim Zekoll eds., Brill 2014).