Japan is well-known for its small number of lawyers. In the late 1990s, there was a justice system reform movement. This resulted in a governmental agenda to substantially increase the lawyers' number. The profession's population then rapidly increases. The pace of the reform has however recently been slowed down, although the full implementation of the reform and its target has not yet been achieved. Why had the number of lawyers remained small for five decades after the World War II despite Japan's economic development? Why was there a justice system reform movement in the late 1990s? Why has the pace of reform been slowed down recently? Who controlled/controls the size of the legal profession in Japan? This paper will analyse these issues.