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This paper presents a relational account of the Japanese constructions that are commonly referred to as ‘passives’. They are shown to all be multipredicate, monoclausal constructions, with the differences between them primarily attributable to optionality in the lexical argument structure of the ‘passive’ predicate. The proposed analysis explains the differences between passives and causatives, despite their sometimes identical case-marking. Further, evidence from the interaction of unaccusative verbs and passive is shown to lead to a formal revision of the 1-Advancement Exclusiveness law. Finally, the differences between Japanese and Korean with respect to passives is reduced to a simple lexical difference between the two languages.

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