Japan’s (In)Capacity in International Commercial Arbitration

Written by: Nobumichi Teramura (UNSW PhD candidate) & Luke Nottage (USydney)
[These are the non-footnoted/hyperlinked opening paragraphs of a posting forthcoming on the Kluwer Arbitration Blog, which follows on from our analysis of ‘Australia’s (In)Capacity‘ published on 21 September 2018. The full draft of this posting about Japan will be uploaded after it appears on the Kluwer Arbitration Blog.]
Not long after the ICCA Congress held in Sydney, the Japan International Dispute Resolution Center (JIDRC) was established in Osaka on 1 May 2018, with some fanfare from the Japanese government and local legal circles. ‘JIDRC-Osaka’ does not provide arbitration services but offers specialist facilities for international arbitration hearings and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Facilities are reasonably priced as they are housed quite centrally in a modern Ministry of Justice building. Further, on 1 September, the International Arbitration Center in Tokyo (IACT) started operation as the first Asian international arbitration body specialised in intellectual property disputes. Unusually for international arbitration institutions, the IACT’s website highlights a range of former judges agreeable to serving as presiding arbitrators, including Dr Annabelle Bennett SC from Australia.
While these new initiatives are based on the ‘Basic Policy on Economic and Fiscal Management and Reform 2017’ approved by the Cabinet of Japan, it is unclear whether the government will issue something equivalent to the glossy Austrade brochure to try to promote instead Japanese international commercial arbitration (ICA). But the Justice, Sports, Trade and Transportation ministries are reportedly discussing how they should promote Japanese ICA to the world in English. This blog posting already sketches convincing and unconvincing aspects involved in developing Japan as another regional arbitration hub, keeping in mind the points in the Austrade brochure and our previous blog posting regarding Australia.

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“Contract Law in Japan” – Kluwer Book Preface

With Profs Hiroo Sono (Hokkaido U), Kenji Saigusa (Waseda) and Andrew Pardieck (Southern Illinois U), I was pleased to co-author a book manuscript on “Contract Law in Japan”, which is now in press. As mentioned in our Preface reproduced below, it aims to provide the first English-language volume incorporating an analysis of Japan’s first comprehensive reforms to the Civil Code since the late 19th century, enacted in 2017 and coming into force from 2020.

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