ANJeL Anniversary Conference debrief – commemorating and comparing the 11 March disasters in Japan

Like so many in Australia and worldwide, we remember sadly today over 19,000 confirmed dead or still missing from Japan’s triple disasters a year ago. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to the many more who collectively have lost their lives from natural disasters in other parts of the Asia-Pacific – including the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and other countries facing the Indian Ocean, the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, the Christchurch earthquake and the Queensland floods – just over a year ago, too.

The “Asia-Pacific disasters” conference hosted by Sydney Law School over 1-2 March generated productive interdisciplinary comparisons, despite ominous weather that later generated record rain and flooding in Sydney and beyond.
I thank again all the conference sponsors, speakers (including several participating via Skype from Japan and the USA), session chairs, and superlative event coordinators. Dr Kohara’s opening remarks are available via the website of the Consulate-General of Japan in Sydney. During conference breaks, ABC Radio interviewed Professors Kabashima and Morita from Tohoku University Law School, as well as myself. The audio clip and transcript are available there, also broadcast on News Radio and the Asia Pacific program (Radio Australia and Radio National) the night before. Further reporting on the conference was provided by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (by Aishah Amin, “Japan One Year Later: Conference on Law and Disasters in Japan and the Asia Pacific”, 30 April 2012) and Honi Soit (by Madeleine King, “Fukushima Fallout: Japan, One Year On”, 17 April 2012).
The presentations by Professors Kabashima and Morita, along with that of Associate Professor Jin Chun and Stacey Steele as well as a short Preface by myself, will be published in Issue 34 (late 2012) of the Journal of Japanese Law. (That issue will also contain Part Two of an article by ANJeL-in-Japan (Kanto) Convenor, Professor Souichirou Kozuka, ‘Insurance Law Issues Due to the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011’ – Part One was published in Issue 33, at pp 3-11.)
Almost all other conference presentations, plus a few more papers already commissioned, will be published by Springer (mid-2013) in “Asia-Pacific Disaster Management: Comparative and Socio-Legal Perspectives” co-edited by Dr Simon Butt (Sydney Law School), Dr Hitoshi Nasu (ANU College of Law) and myself – comprising:
1. Introduction
Dr Butt, Dr Nasu & Prof Nottage
2. Considering the Most Vulnerable: The Kaizen of Legal Reform following the 3/11 Disasters in Japan
Professor Kent Anderson
Pro Vice Chancellor (International)
The University of Adelaide
3. A Public Health Perspective on Reconstructing Post-Disaster Tohoku: One Year Later
Professor Michael Reich
Harvard School of Public Health
4. Cultural criticism in Japan concerning the 2011 disasters disasters
Dr Yasuko Claremont
Department of Japanese Studies
The University of Sydney
5. The future of 3.11: The Tôhoku disaster in Japanese science fiction
Dr Rebecca Suter
Department of Japanese Studies
The University of Sydney
6. Liability for Nuclear Damages pursuant to Japanese Atomic Law – Legal Problems Arising from the Fukushima I Nuclear Accident
Julius Weitzdoerfer
Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law
7. Does Law have a Heart? A Comparison of Australian and Japanese Law in Post-Disaster Recovery
A/Prof Leon Wolff & Ms Kylie Fletcher-Johnson
Faculty of Law
Bond University
8. Circumscribing and circumventing relief: an anthropological cross-comparison of disaster-born illnesses and recovery efforts in Japan and the United States
Michelle Daigle
Department of Anthropology
University of Hawai’i at Mānoa
9. Fiscal Policy for Chaos
Micah Burch,
Sydney Law School
10. From Response to Prevention: Indonesia’s 2007 Disaster Management Law
Dr Simon Butt
Sydney Law School
11. BRR Aceh-Nias: A Post-disaster Reconstruction Governance
Dr T. Nirarta Samadhi
Unit Kerja Presiden
12. The Perspective of Disaster Sociology
A/Prof Anxin ZHU
Sociology Department
Nanjing University
13. China: The Legal System and the Allocation of Responsibility for Accidents and Disasters
Professor Vivienne Bath
Sydney Law School
14. The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011: How is it Working?
Professor J Elizabeth Toomey
School of Law, University of Canterbury
15. [Government Responses to Disasters in Japan and New Zealand]
Michael White
Human Rights Commission of New Zealand
16. International Law and Liability for Nuclear Disasters
Helen Cook
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, USA
[Substituting for: Professor Gillian Triggs, formerly Dean, Sydney Law School]
17. Technology Regulation for Disaster Management: The Potential of Nanotechnology for Energy Security and Regulatory Challenges
Dr Hitoshi Nasu
ANU College of Law
The Australian National University

Author: Luke Nottage

Prof Luke Nottage (BCA, LLB, PhD VUW, LLM LLD Kyoto) is founding co-director of the Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL), Associate Director (Japan) of the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney (CAPLUS), and Professor of Comparative and Transnational Business Law at Sydney Law School. He specialises in international dispute resolution, foreign investment law, contract and consumer (product safety) law.