Japan is known, at least in academic circles, as a country of low "litigiousness". Japanese people and parties doing business in Japan tend to prefer to resolve their disputes by less confrontational methods, such as mediation and arbitration, rather than going to court. Moreover, although Japan was one of the first signatories to the New York Convention, the primary mechanism for the enforcement of international arbitration awards, it has been suggested by some commentators that even without the obstacles prevalent in court-related litigation, rates of arbitration in Japan have nonetheless remained low. This may now change with the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association ("JCAA")'s implementation of a new set of Commercial Arbitration Rules ("the new JCA Rules") which came into effect on 1 February 2014 and apply to all arbitrations initiated on or after that date.
Although minor amendments had been made in 2006 and 2008, the new JCA Rules mark the first major overhaul since 2004 when the Japanese Arbitration Law (which is based upon the UNCITRAL Model Law) was first enacted. The amendments introduced by the new JCA Rules aim not only to make arbitrations administered by the JCAA more efficient and user-friendly, but also to bring the JCAA more in line with recent arbitration trends and the amendments made to internationally recognised institutional arbitration rules commonly used in Asia Pacific, such as the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre Administered Arbitration Rules 2013 ("HKIAC Rules"), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre Rules 2013 ("SIAC Rules") and the International Chamber of Commerce Rules 2012 ("ICC Rules").