Guest Blog: COVID-19 in Asia – China, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia in Focus

Written by: Hao Yang Joshua Mok, student intern at the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney (CAPLUS)

On 28 May 2021, the University of Victoria’s Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives (CAPI), together with the University of Sydney’s Centre for Asian and Pacific Law (CAPLUS) and the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL), hosted an online webinar celebrating the publication of Covid-19 in Asia – Law and Policy Context’. A recording of the webinar may be accessed here.

Edited by Prof. Victor V. Ramraj and published by Oxford University Press, the book is a collected volume on Covid-19 law and policy issues in Asia. It draws upon the work of sixty-one authors from seventeen jurisdictions and aims to capture the initial responses of governments in response to the pandemic and highlight likely enduring legal and policy challenges.

The online webinar drew on four chapters of the book, focusing on China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan’s responses to the pandemic.

  • The China chapter was presented by A/Prof. Feng Xu from the University of Victoria and discussed by A/Prof. Jeanne Huang from the University of Sydney.
  • The Indonesia chapter was presented by Dr. Nadirsyah Hosen from Monash University and discussed by Prof. Simon Butt from the University of Sydney.
  • The Malaysia chapter was presented by Dr. Azmil Tayeb from Universiti Sains Malaysia.
  • The Japan chapter was presented by Prof. Shigenori Matsui from the University of British Columbia. Prof. Luke Nottage from the University of Sydney briefly discussed both the Malaysia and Japan chapters.

A/Prof. Xu began her presentation with a reflection of China’s largely successful Covid-19 response. She suggested that we must contextualize China’s experience as an interrelationship between coercion and consent: China’s success in imposing and enforcing strict lockdown and quarantine measures required the acceptance and consent of individuals to those conditions. Turning to the book chapter itself, A/Prof. Xu suggested that China’s emergency response involved the mass mobilization of political, economic, and social resources. While effective, such measures came at a huge cost to individual rights. A/Prof. Xu concluded that the most immediate challenge for China will be the roll-out of its vaccination program.

A/Prof. Huang echoed this theme of consent and emphasized the limited scope of the right to privacy and personal information in China. While this allowed health administrators to access personal data when managing the pandemic, it reflects the tension between coercion and consent. Drawing on her area of focus, A/Prof. Huang provided some brief remarks on civil litigation against China arising out of the pandemic – raising issues of jurisdiction and service – as well as on China’s response to foreign criticism, exemplified by its trade dispute with Australia.

Dr. Hosen suggested that the Jokowi administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic had been too little, too late. Despite growing cases in South East Asia in early January, the government did not impose lockdown measures but rather further opened up the country. While the government eventually escalated its measures, the pandemic was already in full swing. Dr. Hosen argued that there were four barriers that contributed to the slow response and ineffectiveness of governmental measures: first, the unhealthy relationship between the Indonesian Medical Association and the Minister of Health Affairs; second, the political rivalry between President Jokowi’s administration and the current governor of Jakarta; third, the incompetence of the Jokowi cabinet; finally, the position of conservative religious groups in rejecting the request not to organize mass prayers.

In Prof. Butt’s discussion, he suggested that issues of governance, politicking, and religion are not new issues for Indonesia. Rather, they have been brought to sharp relief by the pandemic. Moreover, putting aside the government’s shortcomings, the size and geography of Indonesia presents significant difficulty. Prof. Butt concluded that looking forward, the biggest difficulty for Indonesia would be to obtain and administer vaccines in the face of those persistent issues.

Dr. Tayeb discussed issue of improvised pandemic policy and democratic regression in Malaysia. In the lead up to the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysia was experiencing a volatile political environment which eventually resulted in a new coalition coming into power in late February 2020. Shortly thereafter, Covid-19 emerged, and the government responded by implementing strict lockdown measures. While those measures were initially successful, the country experienced a turning point. Under the backdrop of a continued power struggle, state by-elections were occurring without much restriction. This led to another wave of Covid-19 cases. Dr. Tayeb suggested that throughout the pandemic, the government’s response evinced incoherency. Moreover, the government has been using the pandemic to avoid the convening of parliament, undermining notions of accountability and transparency.

Prof. Matsui suggested that Japan was ill-prepared to deal with the pandemic and its eventual response was slow and insufficient. The difficulty was with Japan’s fragmented and restrictive infectious disease legal infrastructure. While the government eventually revised its statute and declared a state of emergency, only soft measures were imposed, because of initial legal constraints and the effectiveness of social norms. Fortunately, infection rates and death toll remained low in Japan throughout 2020. Now, however, Japan has experienced a resurgence in Covid-19 cases and there is a growing fear that this will worsen with the Tokyo Olympics. The biggest issue ahead for Japan is with its vaccination program, especially given concerns about vaccine hesitancy among the public.

Prof. Nottage went on to compare Malaysia and Japan’s responses during the Covid-19 pandemic. He suggested that in terms of balancing public health, civil liberties, and economic activity, Japan appeared to be quite successful. Prof. Nottage queried the reasons behind vaccine hesitancy this year, especially given the communitarian norms evident last year, as vaccination programs constitute the next complex phase in pandemic management in Australia, across Asia and world-wide.

Japanese Studies (& Law): JSAA conference focused on “Sustainability, Longevity and Mobility”

ANJeL has coordinated and proposed two Panels related to Japanese law, as below, for the upcoming biannual conference of the Japanese Studies Association of Australia. Due to the ongoing pandemic the 2021 conference will be a virtual event delivered via Zoom. The conference theme is ‘Sustainability, Longevity and Mobility’ and details can be found at https://languages-cultures.uq.edu.au/event/session/5776. The dates for the conference remain September 28th to October 1st 2021. Due to the nature of virtual delivery the format for the conference will be quite different from past years and registration costs will be reduced. There will be a virtual postgraduate workshop held during the conference with details to be provided at a later date.

PANEL 1: “Japanese Law and Methodological Diversity”

The three presentations engage with diverse methodological perspectives that can be adopted to analyse Japanese law and society. Luke Nottage and Craig Freedman uncover three key tenets of the post-War Chicago School of economics, adapted by J Mark Ramseyer in analysing an increasingly broad swathe of fields, beyond the economic sphere to include recently and controversially the history of “comfort women”. They warn against letting this or any ideology skew logical arguments or factual determinations. Ayako Harada instead applies a methodology incorporating cultural and institutional perspectives to examine child custody dispute resolution in Japan. Leon Wolff ends by exploring the explanatory power of emotions and affect in explaining reconfiguration of legal relations in Japan.

“Revisiting Ramseyer: The Chicago School of Law and Economics Comes to Japan” (Prof Luke Nottage, co-authored with retired A/Prof Craig Freedman)

Mark Ramseyer has been a leading force in bringing to bear the methods of Law and Economics to an increasingly ambitious analysis of the Japanese legal and economic systems. He has deliberately assumed an iconoclastic position in debunking a number of widely-held beliefs about Japan. More recently he has engendered a bitter degree of controversy by idiosyncratically analysing Korean “comfort women” and residents in Tokyo before and during World War II. In this paper we examine Ramseyer’s long contribution to Japanese studies and conclude that he has too frequently let ideological objectives, paralleling three key tenets of the Chicago School of economics, interfere with what should be cool-headed analysis. While asking many of the right questions, prompting often helpful responses and further research, he unfortunately has let a priori assumptions determine his answers. Ramseyer has proven reluctant to review his assessments or implications, largely dismissing contrary evidence.

Luke Nottage, Professor of Comparative and Transnational Business Law, University of Sydney Law School, Co-Director of the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL). Luke specialises in arbitration, contract law, consumer product safety law and corporate governance, with a particular interest in Japan and the Asia-Pacific, and has produced 18 books and hundreds of articles and chapters. He is also Associate Director of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney, Managing Director of Japanese Law Links Pty Ltd and Special Counsel with Williams Trade Law.

“Child Custody Dispute Resolution in Japan: A Cultural and Institutional Perspective” (Prof Ayako Harada)

This paper describes the background and the current situation of parental child custody disputes in Japan. It discusses the possibility of joint-custody legislation and its potential difficulties in effectively managing such disputes in Japanese cultural and institutional context.

Ayako Harada, Professor at Nagoya University Graduate School of Law’s Department of the Combined Graduate Program in Law and Political Science. Prof Harada specialises in legal sociology, history and theory, having graduated from Kyoto University and worked at Waseda University before joining Nagoya University. A major field of research and writing is family law dispute resolution.

“Japanese Law: Once More with Feeling” (A/Prof Leon Wolff)

Emotions enrich our lives. They define our passions and interests; they give colour to our life events; and, as e-motions, they move us to make choices and decisions. The psychological and neurological sciences have long dismissed the false dichotomy between the unruly horse of the emotions and the calm rider of the intellect. And although sociologists and cultural critics have drawn inspiration from these scientific traditions to develop feeling rules and affect theory to explain transformations in social relations, legal sociologists have kept their feelings in check — at least in their scholarly accounts. This paper explores the explanatory power of emotions and affect in explaining reconfiguration of legal relations in Japan. It considers the different conceptualisations of feelings, their corporeal and psychic dimensions, how they manifest intra- and inter-subjectively, and the methodological challenges involved in accessing, operationalising and analysing emotions to make better ‘sense’ of Japanese law and society. This paper argues that emotions, as forces that drive movement, offer richer possibilities for explaining socio-legal change than current, more static material accounts based on national character, institutional design, politics or rational choice models.

Leon Wolff, Associate professor of law at the Queensland University of Technology and PhD candidate at the Griffith Asia Institute, is founding co-director of the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL). Specialising in Japanese law and society, Leon is currently working on a project on the role of emotions and affect on legal change and justice in Japan.

Chair/Discussant: Carol Lawson is the Minter Ellison Research Associate at the University of New South Wales Faculty of Law and a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University. She works on regulation and global governance with a focus on criminal justice regulation and closed environments. Her approach is through a comparative sociolegal lens, using mixed methods to carry out empirical research. She is completing a study on the nature and impact of civil prison oversight in Japan and Australia, and planning a project on regulating closed environments in the aged care sector. An insight common to both studies is the importance of developing a granular understanding of regulatees’ compliance postures before attempting a regulatory intervention. She teaches courses in Japanese and Anglo-American law, and coaches in the Tokyo Intercollegiate Negotiation Competition. She also serves on the Japan Law Translation Council and as an expert adviser to the Japanese legal translation community, including on plain legal language.

PANEL 2: “The Shadow of Japanese Law – How Sports Elites and the Marginalised Poor Skirt the Law”

This panel has two presentations exploring the surprising ways corruption and crime function in Japan despite the criminal law. The presentations focus on the two extremes of Japanese society — the elite (professional sumo athletes) and the poor (elderly prisoners who now occupy a significant proportion of the incarcerated). Both presentations explore the surprising ways the elite and the marginalised ignore, invoke and side-step the law to achieve socio-economic goals.

“Subverting the Prison: Stigma, Strategy and Japan’s Aging Inmates” (Carol Lawson, UNSW)

Prison populations are aging across all industrialised jurisdictions. However, in Japan, the growth in older prison admissions has long been outstripping the rate of aging in society as a whole. Nearly 38% of admissions were aged 50 or more in 2018, and there is strong evidence that some older Japanese are leveraging the prison system as de facto aged care. This paper explores the confluence of social disintegration and poverty that have contributed to Japan’s grey crime wave. It then examines the role of legal consciousness in this sociolegal phenomenon. Specifically, the paper analyses data collected from 1500 prisoners in 2016 using Valerie Braithwaite’s ‘motivational postures’ heuristic to show how marginalised older Japanese with compliant attitudes to authority have repeatedly embraced the stigmatising criminal identity to receive law’s protection. Finally, it demonstrates how this deft subversion of prisons to meet individual care needs has driven previously inconceivable legal and social change, rewriting the rule book on criminal justice regulation in Japan – without reliance on rights discourse.

“Integrity and corruption in sport: Lessons from Japan and match-fixing in sumo” (Matt Nichol, CQU [presenter*] with Elisa Solomon and Keiji Kawai

Professional sumo in Japan provides a different perspective on corruption in sport due to the long-standing and until recently accepted tradition of match-fixing in makuuchi and jûryô, the two highest divisions of wrestling known as sekitori. As sports gambling is generally illegal under Japan’s Criminal Code, match-fixing in sumo is not related to gambling. Instead fixing is largely the result of the promotion rules, where rikishi (‘wrestlers’) with a losing record in one of the six annual tournaments face demotion in rank and division, and with it, the loss of status and income of competing in sekitori. Evidence surfaced in the 1990s and 2000s of match-fixing involving wrestlers with above expected winning records when facing a losing record in the last days of a tournament. A police investigation into illegal gambling in baseball in 2011 led to evidence of fixing involving a number of rikishi and resulted in an investigation by the Japan Sumo Association that confirmed the first official cases of match-fixing in sumo. This chapter will examine the cultural, institutional and sumo specific factors that encourage fixing and how trust was restored with the public, fans and sponsors after the 2011 fixing scandal

* Matt Nichol is a Lecturer in Law at the College of Business at Central Queensland University (Melbourne Campus, Spencer Street Melbourne VIC 3000). His research focuses on labour mobility, labour regulation and wages in professional baseball in the United States and Japan. Matt has also researched free agency and corporate governance in the Australian Football League. Matt’s research utilises regulatory theory, approaches to labour and the principle that labour is not a commodity to examine the regulation of labour in professional sport. In 2019, Matt’s book Globalization, Sports Law and Labour Mobility: The Case of Professional Baseball in the United States and Japan was published by Edward Elgar Publishing.

Elisa Solomon is an Asia-Paciic Employment Relations Specialist with Bristol Myers Squibb, and a Research Assistant with Monash University, Australia. Elisa is a lawyer with experience researching and advising on labour laws and regulations in the Asia-Pacific, and holds a Master of Laws. Having worked in both the public and the private sector in Japan, Elisa is experienced in conducting research on Japanese laws and policies. Elisa has conducted research on laws surrounding workers’ protections in Japan, participation of women in Parliament, and the assessment of directors’ liability in Australia and Japan. She has previously worked for the International Labour Organization in Thailand on a regional project analysing countries’ compliance with the Bali Declaration.

Keiji Kawai is a Professor of Sport Law in the Department of Policy Studies at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. His book, The Legal Status of Professional League Players (2003), was awarded the Okinaga Prize by the Labor Research Center. He served as Visiting Researcher at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst from 2007 to 2009. Keiji was the General Secretary of the Japan Sports Law Association from 2017 to 2019 and is also on the arbitrator panel at the Japan Sports Arbitration Agency. He was an executive board member of the Nippon Basketball League from 2013 to 2015. He is currently conducting comparative studies funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science on sports accidents and compensation.

Chair/Discussant: Associate Professor Trevor Ryan teaches Legal Theory, Constitutional Law and other classes at Canberra Law School, where he is Program Director of the Juris Doctor. Trevor’s main research interests are elder law, disability, and legal education, with a comparative law interest in Japan. Trevor has published on a range of topics including dementia, guardianship and private law; the right to housing; and the role of stakeholders in shaping legal education. 

Re-imagining the Japan-Australia (international arbitration) relationship

As a submission to the ANU’s Australia-Japan Research Centre project on “Reimagining the Japan Relationship”, funded by the DFAT-linked Australia-Japan Foundation, I have submitted the concluding chapter of my newly-published book: International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration: Australia and Japan in Regional and Global Contexts (Elgar, 2021), which will be launched by Chief Justice Allsop of the Federal Court of Australia on 17 June 2021.

The book tracks the historical evolution of international arbitration, as the primary mechanism for resolving cross-border business disputes nowadays, in the direction of more globalisation but also more formalisation – reflecting in growing costs and delays. The COVID-19 pandemic has belatedly forced international arbitration mostly online, and new practices will likely persist as travel restrictions are eased (Part I). However, to maximise those possibilities and keep reducing costs and delays, there should be more structured and sustained bilateral cooperation between governments, law reform initiatives, arbitral institutions, judges, lawyers and academics (Part II).


Arb-Med for International Arbitration: in Japan, not Australia?

Active settlement facilitation by arbitrators in Japan, mirroring mediation by judges following the historically German/Austrian civil procedure law tradition, remains quite persuasive. This was evident from JCAA statistics analysed a decade ago by Prof Tatsuya Nakamura, prompting my commentary on this Blog (incorporated into chapter 4 of my new Elgar book, to be launched Thursday 17 June 2021 by Chief Justice Allsop of the Federal Court of Australia). Australia has also experimented with statutory Arb-Med provisions in New South Wales from 1990, and nation-wide from 2010 for domestic arbitrations under a more restrictive model, but Arb-Med has been far less popular in practice. The 2021 Rules of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration ended up not including Arb-Med provisions, but they were included (based largely on the 2010 legislation for domestic arbitration) in the September 2020 Consultation Draft Rules, so draft Article 55 reproduced below.

My analysis for the Kluwer Arbitration Blog (posted 1 May 2021) examines this topic in more detail. I suggest those draft Rule provisions could still be adapted anyway for individual contracts by parties and legal advisors (especially those from or familiar with Japan), other arbitral institutions (such as the JCAA) or legislators.

55. Mediation by an Arbitrator

55.1 An arbitrator may act as a mediator in relation to the dispute or a part of the dispute between the parties if each party has consented in writing prior to the arbitrator so acting.

55.2 If an arbitrator acts as a mediator, the arbitral proceedings must be stayed to facilitate the conduct of the mediation proceedings.

55.3 An arbitrator who is acting as a mediator:

(a) may communicate with the parties collectively or separately; and

(b) must treat any confidential information obtained from a party as confidential and for the purposes of these Rules, any information provided by one party to the arbitrator which that party: (i) has not provided to all the other parties; or (ii) has not expressly agreed can be provided to all the other parties, shall be treated as confidential.

55.4 If, during the course of any mediation, confidential information is obtained by the arbitrator and if the mediation terminates without a settlement of the entire dispute being reached, before recommencing the arbitration:

(a) the arbitrator must inform the parties if he or she has obtained confidential information during the mediation; and

(b) after so informing the party, the arbitrator must obtain the express written consent of all the parties before resuming to act as an arbitrator.

55.5 Following the termination of any mediation, no objection may be taken to the future involvement in the arbitration proceedings by the arbitrator on the grounds that the arbitrator acted as a mediator in relation to the dispute:

(a) if the arbitrator obtains the express written consent of all the parties to the arbitration required by Article 55.1; or

(b) if the arbitrator did not obtain any confidential information during the course of the mediation.

55.6 If an arbitrator has obtained confidential information during the course of any mediation and all parties do not consent to the resumption of the arbitration proceedings by the arbitrator, the arbitrator’s appointment is taken to have been terminated. Upon such termination, a replacement arbitrator is to be confirmed or appointed pursuant to the procedure by which the arbitrator being replaced was confirmed or appointed, except that:

(a) if there is a sole arbitrator, and if within [40] days of the parties authorising the arbitrator to act as mediator the parties have not reached agreement on the choice of a replacement sole arbitrator and provided written evidence of their agreed nomination to ACICA, the replacement sole arbitrator shall be appointed by ACICA with a mandate to commence upon termination of the appointment of the arbitrator who acted as mediator; or

(b) if there are three arbitrators, and if within [60] days of the parties authorising one or more arbitrators to act as mediator the parties have not reached agreement on the choice of one or more replacement arbitrators arbitrator and provided written evidence of their agreed nomination to ACICA, the replacement sole arbitrator(s) shall be appointed by ACICA with a mandate to commence upon termination of the appointment of the arbitrator(s) who acted as mediator.

Online Legal Education Compared: Australia, Japan and (Far) Beyond

Together with past ANJeL Visitor and Program Convenor (ANJeL-in-Japan), Seijo University Professor Makoto Ibusuki, I have been appointed General Reporter by the venerable International Academy of Comparative Law for a project comparing “Online Legal Education” across around 20 jurisdictions world-wide, including Australia and Japan. Draft National Reports will be received by January 2022 so we can draft our General Report, summarising key findings, to be presented at the four-yearly IACL Congress – this time hosted over 23-28 October 2022 in Asuncion (Paraguay). We plan then to co-edit a book in the IACL’s series published by Springer.

We hope to get and share insights into how online (university or other) legal education interacts with each jurisdiction’s legal profession, university system, and ICT infrastructure, as well as how online legal education has developed both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is the draft “questionnaire” we provided to guide (but not dictate to) Reporters preparing their chapters, and the current list of jurisdictions and Reporters nominated by IACL national committees. We welcome feedback on other questions or angles on this practically important and theoretically interesting topic for comparative research.

  • A. Background: Legal Profession, University and IT Systems Generally
    • Who are the main “gatekeepers” to the legal profession (cf Anderson & Ryan, 2009)? Does its corresponding size and nature make it generally harder or easier to move (university/qualifying or continuing) legal education online?
      • The existing legal profession (eg like Japan: bengoshi lawyers, negotiating with the Ministry of Justice and courts): tends to result in smaller legal profession, but still many other LLB graduates (not qualified as lawyers)
      • Universities (eg like Australia previously or now NZ: LLB and JD graduates can almost all qualify as lawyers, as they they need to just complete a short easy practical training course, so the numbers of law students allowed into universities – by the government as in NZ, or by universities themselves since 2011 in Australia – determines the size of the legal profession): tends to result in a larger legal profession
      • The market (eg like USA: as there are so many accredited law schools, and state bar exams are easily passed at least after a few attempts, so the numbers of lawyers is really determined only by whether students think they will be able to get a job as lawyer after graduating): tends to result in the largest legal profession
    • How are universities (and law schools) generally funded? Does this make it harder or easier to move legal education online?
      • Eg universities in Australia: growing dependence on international student revenues, including more recently in law – many are non-native English speakers (eg from China), so may be more difficult to move effectively their legal education online
      • Cf universities in Japan: still much lower international student proportions, especially in law; correspondingly more emphasis on research, so maybe easier to move online
    • How widespread is access to good-quality and affordable IT hardware (computers etc) and software (including internet access), among university students/teachers and legal professionals?
      • Eg in Australia: quite good for both groups, making it again easier to move university/qualifying & continuing legal education online
      • Cf in Japan: quite good for lawyers but less so for judges/courts, variable for university teachers, quite bad for many university students
  • B. Moves Towards Online Education:
    • Summary achievements before the pandemic, in light of the above background
      • University and/or qualifying legal education
      • Continuing (post-admission) legal education
    • Achievements and challenges after the pandemic
      • Briefly re continuing legal education
      • Details for university and/or qualifying legal education
        • Course/program goals (any revisions needed?)
        • Course assessment methods (fewer exams, more assignments and/or essays? Changes to grading curves?)
        • Delivery methods (purely online eg live and/or pre-recorded, hybrid with some face-to-face teaching?)
        • Other administrative challenges (eg more plagiarism?)
        • Student welfare and extra-curricular activities?
  • C. Conclusions:
    • Overall, has the shift to more online education been positive?
    • With (big!) assumptions of similar structure for legal profession, university funding and IT systems, what are the prospects for further online legal education as the pandemic abates?
1. Australie/Australia William van Caenegem (Bond  University) & Trish Mundy (University of Wollongong)
2. Belgique/Belgium Jan-Baptist Lemaire (KU Leuven)
3. Brunei & Malaysia / Singapore


4. Canada 
Nobumichi Teramura (Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Institute of Asian Studies) & Salim Farrar (University of Sydney, Law School)

Adrien Habermacher (UMoncton)
5. Chypre/Cyprus Lida Pitsillidou (UCLan) 
6. Croatie/CroatiaMirela Župan (University  of JJ Strossmayer in Osijek Faculty  of Law)
7. Danemark/ Denmark Per Andersen
8. Estonie/Estonia Age Värv (University of Tartu,  Faculty of Law) 
9. Etats-Unis/USAMichael Hunter Schwartz  (University of the Pacific,  McGeorge School of Law)
10. Hongrie/HungaryIstván Hoffman and András Szabó (Eötvös Loránd Université)
11. Italie/Italy Rossella Esther Cerchia  (University of Milano Statale) 
12. Japon/Japan Kenichi YONEDA (Kagoshima  University)
13. Macao/MacauRostam J. NEUWIRTH, Alexandr SVETLICINII, Muruga Perumal RAMASWAMY (University of  Macau) 
14. Norvège/Norway Tobias Mahler (University of Oslo)
15. Pakistan Syed Imad-ud-Din Asad 
16. Pays-Bas/ Netherlands Ernst van Bemmelen van Gent 
17. Roumanie/ RomaniaDaniela-Anca DETESEANU  (Universitatea din Bucuresti)
18. Royaume-Uni/UK 

19. Seychelles

20. South Africa
Andra le Roux-Kemp  (University of Lincoln)

Nyasha Noreen Katsenga (University of Seychelles)

Edwin Coleman (University of Johannesburg, CICLASS)
21. Tchéquie/Czech  RepublicDavid Sehnálek (Masaryk University)
22. Turquie/Turkey Elif Küzeci  (Bahçeşehir University) 
23. VenezuelaEugenio HERNANDEZ-BRETON  (Universidad Central de  Venezuela, Universidad  Monteavila, Academia de  Ciencias Politicas y Sociales)

ANJeL/JSAA “Japanese Law in Context” Podcasts Project – Going Live

The Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL) in collaboration with the Japan Studies Association of Australia (JSAA) and thanks to Mini-Grant funding from the Japan Foundation Sydney awarded in November 2020, has completed 20 podcasts introducing Japanese Law in comparative and socio-economic contexts. The interviews include segments on the current or likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the diverse sub-fields of Japanese law and society. The podcast “playlist” is here on Youtube and a report is here on the design and some key points from the podcasts, written by Melanie Trezise (PhD candidate and research assistant at the University of Sydney Law School, and past ANJeL Executive Coordinator).

The expert interviewees have taught in the Kyoto and Tokyo Seminars in Japanese Law, co-organised by ANJeL and Ritsumeikan University‘s postgraduate Law School since 2005 for Japanese, Australian and other international students, and/or the interviewees have been ANJeL visitors or advisors. Interviewers are ANJeL co-directors Prof Luke Nottage (University of Sydney Law School) and A/Prof Leon Wolff (QUT), along with Micah Burch (Senior Lecturer at Sydney Law School) and Melanie Trezise (who was also primarily responsible for the editing). Others who helped make this possible include Dr Nobumichi Teramura (now Assistant Professor at the University of Brunei) and the terrific tech team from Sydney Law School (Lana Kolta, Andy Netherington and Ross West).

ANJeL and JSAA are very grateful to all who supported this project. We hope that these resources available via their websites (or directly via Youtube) will be useful for the wider public when engaging with the fascinating and ever-changing world of Japanese law. The sub-topics and interviewees are listed below, with video-recordings edited to around 15-20 minutes each. There are also several mostly longer Bonus Features as well as a shorter introduction (by Luke Nottage), such as reflections about the innovative Kyoto and Tokyo Seminar program from some of its key architects (including past ANJeL Co-Director Kent Anderson and Ritsumeikan University Professor Naoya Yamaguchi). Other Seminar program organisers over the years include Professors Makoto Ibusuki (Program Convenor: ASEAN-in-Japan), Tsuneyoshi Tanaka and Chihara Watanabe.

  • Introduction to the Podcast Series – Luke Nottage (USydney)
  • Pop Culture – Leon Wolff (QUT)
  • Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives- Tetsuro Hirano & Chihara Watanabe (Ritsumeikan) with Luke Nottage
  • Mediation – James Claxton (Rikkyo / Waseda U) & Kyoko Ishida (Waseda U)
  • Arbitration – Giorgio Colombo (Nagoya U), Tatsuya Nakamura (Kokushikan U) & Nobumichi Teramura (UBrunei)
  • Civil Procedure – Yoko Tamura (Tsukuba U)
  • Lawyers – Jiri Mesteky (Kitahama Partners) & Yoshihiro Obayashi (Yodoyabashi & Yamagami)
  • Criminal Justice – Kent Anderson (ANU / Advisor to Australia’s Education Minister) & Makoto Ibusuki (Seijo U)
  • Government – Narufumi Kadomatsu (Kobe U)
  • Gender – Kyoko Ishida (Waseda U)
  • Labour – Takashi Araki (U Tokyo)
  • Contracts – Veronica Taylor (ANU/ ANJeL Advisor) & Tomohiro Yoshimasa (Kyoto U)
  • Consumers – Marc Dernauer (Chuo U)
  • Corporate Governance – Souichirou Kozuka (Gakushuin U)
  • Finance – Akihiro Wani (Morrison & Forster)
  • Tax – Justin Dabner (formerly JCU) with Micah Burch (USydney)
  • Bonus: Sports – Matt Nichol (CQU) with Micah Burch
  • Bonus: Gender, Past & Present – Masako Kamiya (Gakushuin U)
  • Bonus: Pandemic & Japanese Law – Compilation
  • Bonus: Kyoto and Tokyo Seminars – Kent Anderson, Leon Wolff & Naoya Yamaguchi (Ritsumeikan) with Luke Nottage

Guest blog: ‘Japanese Law in Context’ in the context of a global pandemic – Report on a podcast series

Written by: Melanie Trezise (PhD candidate and Research Assistant at the University of Sydney Law School, and former ANJeL Executive Coordinator)[forthcoming in Journal of Japanese Law (2021)]

Academic events in the first twelve months of the COVID-19 pandemic were almost universally united by cancellations and virtual substitutes. The hallmark Kyoto and Tokyo Seminars organised by the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL) with Ritsumeikan University Law School were no exception. For the first time since 2005, Japanese, Australian and other international students unfortunately missed the opportunity in February 2021 to attend Ritsumeikan campuses for 9 days of in-person intensive learning in Japanese law.


In order to provide continuity to the seminar program, ANJeL, together with the Japanese Studies Association of Australia (JSAA), and funded by a mini-grant from the Japan Foundation Sydney, elected to provide brief introductions to the Seminar topics as short-form video podcasts. These were conducted in interview format, which is an intentional nod to the co-teaching format of the Seminars, and many interview pairings will be familiar to attendees at previous Seminars.


The podcast series begins with a short introduction by ANJeL co-director Prof Luke Nottage (University of Sydney). It is followed by a fascinating overview by co-director A/Prof Leon Wolff (Queensland University of Technology) on the nexus between pop culture and the law in Japan. The early billing of this interview in the podcast series playlist available via YouTube is not an accident, and it is hoped that this will be a tantalising hook for the podcast audience. Wolff’s work addresses the core question of “does law matter?” in contemporary Japan by using pop culture, especially television dramas, as evidence that law does, in fact, matter. This acceptance permits a shift in the question to how law matters and in doing so, Wolff moves beyond cultural and rationalist arguments to emotional attitudes towards the law.


The subsequent interview with long-time supporters of the seminars, Ritsumeikan University professors Tetsuro Hirano and Chihara Watanabe, sets the comparative context that is at the core of the Seminars’ international setting. The interview, led by Nottage, provides a concise introduction for students to some historical and theoretical perspectives on Japanese law. It also generates a wide-ranging discussion that extends to ongoing outside and home-grown influences on Japanese law, as well as the impact of justice system reforms since 2001 on the number and availability of lawyers in Japan.


This discussion links neatly to the following interviews on the practice of Japanese law, focusing separately on mediation and arbitration, civil procedure, as well as the experience of practicing lawyers in Japan. With respect to mediation, Nottage is joined by Professors Kyoko Ishida (Waseda University) and James Claxton (Rikkyô University / Waseda University) to discuss mediation as an alternative option to court processes and the impact of formalising that process in Japan, which has somewhat paradoxically required the involvement of legal (or quasi-legal) practitioners with specialist skills. Claxton presents a compelling account of the present and future of the new Japan International Mediation Center in Kyoto (JIMC-Kyoto).


As for arbitration practice in Japan, Nottage interviewed Prof Tatsuya Nakamura (Kokushikan University), Prof Giorgio Colombo (Nagoya University, and past observer of the Seminars) and Asst Prof Nobumichi Teramura (University of Brunei Darussalam). Japan’s recent legislative reforms in this area of law are discussed, as well as Japan’s competitiveness on the international stage as a preferred forum for commercial arbitration.


Prof Yoko Tamura (Tsukuba University) provides her expertise on civil procedure and gradually shifting changes in Japanese civil justice in favour of improved timeframes for pre-trial proceedings, having a positive impact on courtroom practice. Prof Tamura also flags integrated electronic practices as a key pathway for further improvements in civil procedure, a theme that appears in the pandemic ‘bonus feature’ discussed below.


Representing Japan-based legal practitioners, Mr Jiri Mestecky (Kitahama Partners) and Ritsumeikan graduate Mr Yoshihiro Obayashi (Yodoyabashi & Yamagami) provide insights into the experience of working as international lawyers in Japan. Linking to the academic debate on culture as an explanation for Japanese law practice, Mestecky and Obayashi describe the important role of international lawyers in cultural interpretation, as well as the anticipated impact of further new rules relating to gaikokuhô jimu bengoshi (外国法事務弁護士; registered foreign attorneys at law) on the number of foreign lawyers in Japan.


Prof Kent Anderson (Australian National University and founding ANJeL co-director, who also helped establish the annual Seminars from 2005) and Prof Makoto Ibusuki (Seijo University, who also co-founded the Seminars when formerly at Ritsumeikan University) were interviewed by Nottage about their always-popular classes co-teaching Japanese criminal justice to an international student audience. This begins with asking why students feel “safe” in particular settings, then developing an innovative, holistic approach to place Japan’s striking conviction and confession statistics in a socio-cultural context.


Wolff’s interview with Prof Narufumi Kadomatsu (Kobe University) will be a crucial introduction for foreign students of Japanese law seeking to understand gyôsei shidô (行政指導; administrative guidance) and its limits. This was a difficult interview to edit with Kadomatsu’s excellent case illustration of ‘voluntariness’ in administrative guidance unfortunately not making the shortened cut. The longer versions of all interviews will remain available for ANJeL core institutions and Ritsumeikan teachers to use in the (physical, virtual or blended) classroom.


Regarding gender and the law in Japan, both Prof Kyoko Ishida and Prof Masako Kamiya (Gakushuin University) are separately interviewed by Wolff. Ishida’s personal experience as one of only two tenured female law professors at Waseda University adds poignancy and immediacy to the discussion on women in legal education and practice, and the challenges that continue to be faced by women considering entering the profession. Kamiya’s interview provides the historical and contemporary context to the issue of gender and equal opportunity for women in Japan. We made the decision to break our own rules and present this as a ‘bonus’ long-form interview for the wider public, to permit drawing out some very important background issues that were impossible to cover within the standard format of 15-20 minutes.


This discussion on gender flows into Wolff’s interview with Prof Takashi Araki (University of Tokyo), particularly on the much-cited workplace practice of lifetime employment in Japan. Araki’s insight into the changing trends and demographics in different employment practices (including burgeoning ‘irregular work’ examples of fixed contract labour, part-time work and agency labour) will be thought-provoking for viewers, even those not usually interested in or familiar with labour law and practice.


On contract law, Prof Veronica Taylor (ANU) and Prof Tomohiro Yoshimasa (Kyoto University), in interview with Nottage, present some surprises for Australian businesses and students of contract law, in particular in relation to an illustrative case on the termination of a wine industry contract. They reflect on how contract practices in Japan have changed in recent times, including an increase in documentation of contracts in large enterprises compared to continued informal contracting practices of small- to medium- sized enterprises, which lack the same resources.


Prof Marc Dernauer (Chuo University) and Nottage discuss consumer law, in particular the complexities of consumer contract and consumer law regulation in Japan. Dernauer highlights the layered public law / private law dichotomy as a surprising feature of Japanese consumer protection following legislative reform in this area especially over the past few decades. As their discussion reveals, strengthening ex post relief for consumers through private law remedies and better access to dispute resolution services, in line with the 2001 justice system reform program and earlier deregulation, has arguably not led to much unwinding of ex ante public regulation aimed at protecting consumers more directly.


The discussion by Prof Akihiro Wani (Morrison & Foerster, Sophia University) on finance and the law, interviewed by this author, has a certain prophetic feel. This is particularly so with respect to rapid changes anticipated as a result of new types of brokerage products, especially given that this interview was filmed at the end of 2020, prior to the GameStop trading controversy.


Tax law specialist and ANJeL Program Director (Teaching and Learning), Micah Burch (University of Sydney), also supported the project by conducting two interviews. His tax law interview with Dr Justin Dabner (formerly James Cook University) reflects on the experience of teaching comparative tax law in Japan, as well as the globally relevant issue of carbon taxation. Burch’s second interview, with Kyoto Seminar graduate Dr Matt Nichol (Central Queensland University), discusses Japanese and international sports law. This is the only interview topic in the podcast series that is not a regular feature of the Kyoto and Tokyo Seminars. Not unlike a demonstration sports event at the Olympics, Nichol whets the appetite for this to be included in the Seminar series in the future by delivering a fascinating bonus feature worthy of a wider audience.


In addition to the above, many of the interviews also draw out preliminary observations on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to including edited versions of these responses in the main feature interviews, we made the decision to create a compilation of these observations into a joint bonus feature to permit immediate comparison of the answers relevant to different areas of law and society. Many answers reflected on the role of technological solutions to continue the practice of law in as ‘business as usual’ manner as can be approximated. The inability to file court matters electronically was a frequent theme and it will be interesting to see whether virus containment measures in Japan will accelerate this change in Japanese judicial practice.


Finally, the pandemic challenge was also discussed in Nottage’s interview of Professor Naoya Yamaguchi (Ritsumeikan University, current co-organiser of the Seminars), Wolff and Anderson. They also reflect more generally on the past, present and future of the unique Kyoto and Tokyo Seminar program. As Wolff explained in this concluding bonus podcast, “continuity and change” has always been a major theme for this innovative and educational series. That is also now a fitting theme in considering the format of the Kyoto and Tokyo Seminars themselves in the context of the ongoing global pandemic.


Indeed, in-person academic conferences and seminars are much more than just opportunities for self-funded students to fill up on catered sandwich triangles and norimaki – they have an essential role in providing opportunities for people to network and get a sense of everyday life in a different socio-cultural context. Most people will agree that this has proven challenging to replicate online, at least to establish new relationships and deepen perspectives. On the other hand, digital format conferences have provided a greater degree of accessibility, as demonstrated by the inclusion of these videos on YouTube for access by the general public.


It seems certain, however, that when they can return, and in whatever format the program must take, there will be a ready audience for ANJeL’s Kyoto and Tokyo Seminars co-hosted with and at Ritsumeikan. In the meantime, this podcast series delivers thought-provoking material for students, academics and practitioners alike, as well as a kind of time capsule for this broad community of people interested in Japanese law in a global context.

Asian Legal Conversations: COVID-19 (Japan)

ANJeL Program Convenor (Judges-in-Residence) A/Prof Stacey Steele and UMelbourne colleagues have produced or assembled webinar recordings, interview transcripts and other resources comparing how Japanese and society has managed the COVID-19 pandemic, available here.

These resources include:

Quarantine, Masks and Dis/ease: Social Discourses of COVID-19 in Japan and Korea

Sunyoung Oh, Claire Maree, Jun Ohashi and Patrick Murphy
Originally posted on the Melbourne Asia Review, 5 November 2020 [43-minute recorded webinar]

An Analysis of Japanese Responses to COVID-19 from an Administrative Law Perspective

Shusaku Kitajima, 8 October 2020 [article, building on interview with Stacey Steele (26 May, transcript here)]

Responses to COVID-19 and Japanese Criminal Justice

Reegan Grayson-Morison and Stacey Steele, 24 June 2020 [interview transcript]

Judicial Responses to COVID-19: Japanese and Victorian Courts’ Use of Technology

Reegan Grayson-Morison and Stacey Steele, 23 June 2020 [interview transcript]

Embracing Asian Law Centre Communities and Opportunities: Alumni Gathering of Japanese Judicial Visitors

Stacey Steele, 18 June 2020 [short article]

Regionalism Rises in Japan to Confront COVID-19

Dan Rosen, 21 May 2020 [short article]

Japan’s Soft State of Emergency: Social Pressure Instead of Legal Penalty

Akiko Ejima
Co-posted in collaboration with
COVID-DEM, which curates and publishes analysis of COVID-19’s impact on democracy worldwide, 13 May 2020 [short article]

Not a Sporting Chance: COVID-19 Dashes Japan’s Olympic Economic Hopes

Asialink
Originally posted on
Asialink Insights, 11 May 2020 [short article]

“ADR Academic of the Year 2020” Award

Based partly on his new book of selected, updated and new essays on “International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration: Australia and Japan in Regional and Global Contexts”, Luke Nottage was recently awarded “2020 ADR Academic of the Year” by the Australian Disputes Centre. This leading centre administering and promoting Alternative Dispute Resolution has presented the “Australian ADR Awards” since 2016 across various categories. Open to all Australia-based experts, the “ADR Academic of the  Year” award “recognises the achievements of individuals who have in the last 12 months demonstrated excellence in academia in the field of [ADR, with work having] benefitted individuals, organisations or communities to achieve outcomes in more effectively resolving disputes.” More detailed criteria (work undertaken, process management, and benefits) and how Luke successfully met them over 2020 with kind letters of support from  Malcolm Holmes QC and Corrs consultant Prof Richard Garnett, are set out below.

  1. Detail outstanding work [over 2020] that illustrates excellence in academic endeavour in the area of alternative dispute resolution. [NB: Manuscript versions of most papers are freely downloadable via SSRN.com]

–       Four articles in leading refereed journals: on ISDS arbitrator neutrality (JWIT – as part of the special issue co-authored by the Geneva-based Academic Forum for ISDS), arbitration transparency (AIAJ), resolving Japan-Korea trade and investment disputes (JWT), Japan’s initiatives in international dispute resolution services (JJL)

–       Six chapters published or in press for books: on judicial control of arbitral awards (CUP Handbook), Asian investment treaty arbitration (including Japan and Australia, for Springer Handbook), arbitration and ‘society at large’ (CUP Compendium), ISDS impact on FDI (CUP), and a detailed analysis of ACICA (for the Oxford Encylopedia of International Procedural Law, with Prof Richard Garnett)

–       lead-edited New Frontiers in Asia-Pacific International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution (15 chapters, Wolters Kluwer, published end-2020), including my own five (co-)authored chapters (eg on Australia’s recent investment treaty arbitration practice): outline at https://japaneselaw.sydney.edu.au/2020/07/new-frontiers-in-asia-pacific-international-arbitration-and-dispute-resolution-luke-nottage-shahla-ali-bruno-jetin-nobumichi-teramura-eds-wolters-kluwer-end-2020-abstracts-keywords-webin/

–       put into press 12-chapter International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration: Australia and Japan in Regional and Global Contexts (Elgar, February 2021): outline at https://japaneselaw.sydney.edu.au/2020/08/book-in-press-with-elgar/

–       taught international arbitration at Sydney Law School (over 200 students across 5 JD/LLB and LLM courses) and UAuckland (LLM)

–       Supervising two PhD students in international arbitration and mediation, awarded Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association “supervisor of the year” in late 2019

–       Academic Co-advisor for “Team Australia” law students across multiple Australian universities, who came second in Tokyo’s Intercollegiate Negotiation and Arbitration Competition in December 2019, and again second in November 2020 competing remotely (https://www.teamaustralia-inc.net/),

–       Only full-time academic on the ACICA Rules Drafting Committee, which released new draft Rules recently for public consultation

  1. How have you researched and developed this work and what skills have you used to ensure its effective delivery? [‘process management’]

–       Provided freely downloadable versions of almost all above publications (and most earlier arbitration or ADR-related publications) via http://ssrn.com/author=488525 (with 2700+ downloads of all my papers over last 12 months, so one of the most widely-read Australia-based law authors via SSRN.com)

–       For the Kluwer New Frontiers book: obtained competitive funding from USydney and Hong Kong University for two conferences, ran the USydney-based one in November 2019, mentored a project assistant to become a book co-editor, reported on presentations and related work in progress via https://japaneselaw.sydney.edu.au,  http://arbitrationblog.kluwerarbitration.com/author/luke-nottage/ and http://mediationblog.kluwerarbitration.com/author/luke-nottage/

–       Further disseminated research findings to practitioners and others through professional journals such as ACICA Review (December 2019 pp54-6, with Rome-based seminar co-presenter) and multiple international and domestic conference or seminar presentations (including Kluwer book related seminar organised and chaired on 4 August 2020 webinar, with over 200 registrants: https://law-events.sydney.edu.au/talkevents/beyond-the-pandemic-new-frontiers-in-asia-pacific-international-dispute-resolution)

–       Provided three submissions (twice invited to give oral evidence) for parliamentary inquiries into four treaties related to investment arbitration, with associated media commentary (eg AFR 26 August 2019) and analysis quoted in related JSCOT Reports (eg No 188, December 2019)

–       Co-organised and co-moderated ACICA Rules Revision public consultation webinar for Australian Arbitration Week in October 2020

–       Joined williamstradelaw.com as Special Counsel from July 2020 to provide legal advice in international arbitration nationally and internationally

  1. How do you believe this work has benefitted individuals, organisations and/or communities?

–       Improved understanding of the trajectory and current issues of international commercial and investment treaty arbitration, as well as cross-border mediation generally, among lawyers, academic and student researchers, government and other policy-makers (including treaty negotiators) as well as the general public

–       Mentored younger and mid-career practitioners and academics in these fields

–       Created closer institutional linkages between USydney and other leading law schools for ADR (notably over 2020 the University of Hong Kong)

–       Expanded connections between academia generally and professional bodies (eg ACICA, AFIA), government (especially DFAT, including through February 2020 co-organised SCIL conference in Sydney) and international organisations (including UNCITRAL via UNCCA.org.au Fellowship and October 2020 conference (recorded) presentation, and representation on the Academic Forum for ISDS as one of only a few Australians among over 100 professors world-wide: https://www.cids.ch/academic-forum-concept-papers)

–       Helped draft and publicise new-generation Arbitration Rules for ACICA

ANJeL’s “Team Australia” Students Second in INC Negotiation & Arbitration Moot

A cross-institutional “Team Australia” is Runner-Up in the 19th Intercollegiate Negotiation Competition “in” Tokyo last weekend (but held remotely this year). The Team also won the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators Prize for the best score in the English-language arbitrations held on 14 November (applying the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts, but also other international instruments). Over 15 November the Team successfully negotiated a complex cross-border joint venture agreement.

This year’s Team included Stella Lee (who also competed previously in English) and Tomohiro Sato from Sydney Law School, several students from ANU (another founding core partner of the Australian Network for Japanese Law, ANJeL) and others from various law schools across Australia. Stella and Tomo joined two others in the Japanese language division sub-Team (matched against Gakushuin and Osaka Universities). There were also two sub-Teams competing in the English language division (matched against Rikkyo, Sophia, Tokyo and Chulalongkorn Universities – “Chula” joined for the first time and all but one opposing universities also ended up in the top seven, so competition over Zoom was intense). The overall winner was the National University of Singapore, competing in the English-language division.

A primary coach was CAPLUS Associate Dr Nobumichi Teramura (and a co-editor of our co-edited Kluwer book on Asia-Pacific international dispute resolution, out next month), who also helped coach Team Australia to win the competition in 2018 and come second in 2019 (pipped by the University of Tokyo). The main academic coordinator was again ANJeL Advisor and ANU Professor Veronica Taylor. My modest contributions involved some introductions to arbitration and international contracting, judging a mock arbitration by the Team, providing ANJeL funding for coaching (plus a donation) and assessing the USydney students.

Heartfelt thanks also go to Dr Carol Lawson (UNSW) and Kieran Pender (helping with coaching this year and/or previously), Peter Cleary, A/Prof Jeanne Huang (for the practice moot with me), Cara Scarpato, A/Prof Stacey Steele (UMelbourne-based ANJeL Judges Program convenor) and Huw Watkins. Partial travel funding for some LLB students was available (as last year) from the Australian government’s New Colombo Plan grant administered by ANU, but was deferred due to pandemic-related travel restrictions.

Team Australia students had to conduct all their preparations remotely across multiple universities, missing out on the usual weekend practising face-to-face in Canberra plus final sessions together in Tokyo before the weekend competition, while preparing for end-of-year course assessments. Congratulations on rising to the extra challenges!