Written by: (Kobe University Law Faculty Prof) James Claxton & Luke Nottage
[This is an non-hyperlinked / unfootnoted version of a posting published by the Kluwer Mediation Blog]
More than 1,400 years ago, Japan codified Confucian and Buddhist approaches to governing in Prince Shotoku’s Constitution, whose first article provides that “[h]armony should be valued, and quarrels should be avoided.” The underlying principle, wa (harmony), was promoted and reflected in the fabric of Japanese society and may have contributed to a persistent preference for non-adversarial means of settling disagreements. Mediation, in particular, has a storied history in Japan and continues to play an important role in the resolution of disputes. But most mediation services have been provided by the government or courts, despite a 2004 statute encouraging certification and expansion of privately-supplied Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services, as part of a broader suite of justice system reforms to make Japan’s legal system more tangible in everyday life.
It is in the context of that contemporary challenge as well as the longer-standing spirit of wa that the Japan International Mediation Centre-Kyoto (JIMC-Kyoto) will soon begin operations. The JIMC-Kyoto is part of a broader initiative to breath fresh life into international disputes services in Japan. The official start of business awaits final governmental approval, which should come early this year.
Continue reading “Wa and the Japan International Mediation Centre – Kyoto”