[These are notes prepared for my launch of this new book by a friend and former colleague, on Thursday 5 July 2018 during the biennial Asian Studies Association of Australia. The second half is posted on 1 August 2018.]
I am honoured and humbled – in three ways – to launch this latest book by my former colleague at USydney’s Japanese Studies Department, Dr Yasuko Claremont, which examines “Civil Society and Postwar Pacific Basin Reconciliation”.
I am humbled as it is the first time to launch a book … which makes me feel a little old!
But I am also humbled because Yasuko puts me to shame for her productivity; since retiring in 2015, she has also produced two other books. This evidence of “life after retirement” makes me feel young again!
I am further humbled because this book makes me realize how much I still need to learn about history and society in Japan (and indeed in Australia – the book’s major comparative reference point, along with Korea and China / Taiwan). Although I research and teach Japanese law “in context”, I tend to delve more into the law than the context. Yet both are deeply intertwined, and law in fact crops up in several chapters throughout this book.
Continue reading ““Civil Society and Postwar Pacific Basin Reconciliation: Wounds, Scars and Healing” (Yasuko Claremont, ed, Routledge 2018) – Book Launch”
https://brill.com/abstract/title/36129Guest blog written by: Nobumichi Teramura (UNSW PhD in Law candidate)
Ongoing dramatic geopolitical transitions in the world have inevitably impacted on the international business environment of the Asia-Pacific region. This requires Australia and other countries in the region to re-examine their legal infrastructure for transnational business disputes. Convergence and divergence of legal systems of competing and sometimes cooperating states in the Asia-Pacific require the Australian government and other stakeholders to address unprecedented legal complexities in private to private, private to public, and public to public commercial dispute resolution.
On 19 April 2018, the Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) at the University of Sydney Law School organised a post-ICCA symposium: “International Commercial Dispute Resolution for the 21st Century: Australian Perspectives”. The symposium, the second recently with the University of Western Australia (UWA) Law School and also supported by Transnational Dispute Management (TDM), brought together leading experts in international arbitration, investment law and international business law from all over the world. They examined broad and perhaps increasingly overlapping fields such as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in a changing legal and political environment, cross-border litigation in the Asian region, other international commercial dispute resolution mechanisms (arbitration and mediation), and inter-state dispute settlement.
Continue reading “Australian Perspectives on International Commercial Dispute Resolution for the 21st Century: A Symposium”
Prof Valerie Hans of Cornell Law School recently convened a fascinating online Forum comparing issues involving public participation in legal decision-making, especially but not limited to (quasi-)jury systems that have been (re)introduced into Asia-Pacific countries like Japan and Korea.
With kind permission from Prof Annelise Riles, well-known for her studies in legal anthropology and comparative legal theory with respect to Japan and Asia, we reproduced below Valerie’s opening questions for the (usually closed) Forum convened by the Meridien180 initiative. That is followed by my brief Japan-focused posting in response to some of those questions as well as some intervening postings and topics raised by other Meridien180 members from around the Asia-Pacific region.
As explained on the website for Meridien180, it is:
a multilingual forum for transformative leadership. Founded in 2012, Meridian 180’s strength comes from its membership—800+ thought leaders from academia, business, and the public sector from 29 different countries. With a center of gravity in the Pacific Rim, Meridian 180 builds the intellectual, social, and political infrastructure required to address the crises of today and tomorrow.
Meridian 180 is a partnership of Cornell University’s Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies and the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture at Cornell Law School, Ewha Womans University in Seoul, Korea, the Institute for Social Science at the University of Tokyo and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. The director of Meridian 180 is Annelise Riles, the Jack G. Clarke ’52 Professor of Far East Legal Studies at Cornell Law School.
Hopefully a summary of the Forum discussions will made publically available. I certainly hope to draw on its many comparative insights when helping to set readings and marking essays by USydney students who are always intrigued by Japan’s quasi-jury system in the criminal justice class in the ANJeL-supported “Kyoto Seminar on Japanese Law“. That class was last taught in February 2018 by Profs Makoto Ibusuki and Dimitri Vanoverbeke.
Continue reading “Guest Blog – Public Participation in Legal Decision-Making”
we have written to leaders in both New Zealand and Australia recommending a shift towards introducing an EU-style two-tier investment court model in lieu of traditional ISDS, as a compromise way forward
The new Labour-led coalition government in New Zealand announced this month that it would resist investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in future Free Trade Agreements or investment treaties.
This outcome and local political circumstances bear some remarkable parallels with the situation in Australia over 2011-2013, when the centre-left Gillard Labor coalition government adopted a similar stance until the new centre-right government resumed the policy including ISDS on a case-by-case assessment. Australia was then able to agree to major bilateral FTAs with China and Korea, as well as to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.
The [unfootnoted] posting below with Amokura Kawharu from UAuckland, a version of which will be published in the Kluwer Arbitration Blog, elaborates on these developments. We note how New Zealand nonetheless subsequently reached agreement in principle on a revised TPP, but will face challenges maintaining a wholly anti-ISDS stance in the ongoing (ASEAN+6) Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations. As a compromise way forward, we have written letters to leaders in New Zealand and Australia suggesting the substitution of an EU-style investment court mechanism.
For more background and our main paper referred to below, please see:
Kawharu, Amokura and Nottage, Luke R., Models for Investment Treaties in the Asian Region: An Underview (February 21, 2017). Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law, 2017 Forthcoming; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/87. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2845088
Continue reading “NZ renounces ISDS: Deja vu?”
Written by: Luke Nottage and Catherine Niven
In 2008, as consumer confidence in Australia took a big hit from the Global Financial Crisis, the Productivity Commission published a report advising the federal Treasurer to lead a belated “re-harmonisation” of consumer protection law. The State and Territory governments agreed to enact substantive provisions mirroring those legislated by the federal Government, thus creating a uniform “Australian Consumer Law” (ACL) in force nation-wide from 2011.
This reform project was mainly “sold” as saving transaction costs for businesses domestically, but also in their dealings with overseas markets that have also been “trading up” to higher standards of consumer protection law (including now ASEAN). As such, for example, all Australian jurisdictions introduced general provisions voiding unfair contract terms along the model adopted by the European Union (EU) in 1993, following the lead of Victoria in 2003. More directly impacting on consumer product safety, the ACL added a novel reporting requirement that suppliers notify the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about serious product-related accidents, introduced already in 2001 by the EU – albeit in more expansive form.
In addition, the Australian governments also agreed to review the operation of the ACL after five years. In March 2017, with little fanfare, officials in “Consumer Affairs Australia and New Zealand” (CAANZ) released a Final Report including recommendations for ACL reform. They include mixed blessings for enhancing consumer safety law.
Continue reading “Reforming Product Safety Law: Good and Bad News from the Australian Consumer Law Review”
Thanks to Carol Lawson (ANU PhD candidate and former ANJeL Coordinator), with A/Prof Stacey Steele (UMelbourne and ANJeL Program Convenor for Judicial Visitors), for sharing below descriptions for their own upcoming conference panel (covering new developments in bankruptcy, privacy law and the legal profession) as well as panels on constitutionalism (timely also in light of the discussion over “informal amendment” of the Article 9 peace clause), and Japanese law and social change (considered also in a book review forthcoming in the Journal of Japanese Studies).
ANJeL members and others are encouraged to register before Friday 23 June for this biennial Japanese Studies of Australia conference held the ensuing week at the University of Wollongong.
Continue reading “Three Japanese Law Panels at the JSAA Conference, UWollongong, 27-29 June 2017”
[Updated: 25 July 2017]
The future of investment treaties, especially as part of “mega-regional” free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), has become very uncertain given the isolationist volte-face of the Trump Administration. This project explores the historical and likely future trajectory of investment treaties, including the sometimes politically controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) procedure, especially in the rapidly growing and diverse Asia-Pacific region. The book focuses on the extent to which Asia-Pacific economies (individually and/or through sub-regional groupings like ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) have been or are more likely to become “rule makers” rather than “rule takers” in international investment law, and in what sense.
The following book proposal, accepted in July 2017 by Brill for publication in its Nijhoff International Investment Law Series, is based mainly on papers presented at conferences comparing contract- and treaty-based arbitration of investment disputes in ASEAN member states (held in Bangkok in July 2016) and across the wider Asian region (held at USydney in February 2017, with a summary by Ana Ubilava available via Kluwer Arbitration Blog) and reproduced (without hyperlinks) on this Blog.
Continue reading ““International Investment Treaties and Arbitration Across Asia” – Julien Chaisse & Luke Nottage (eds)”
By: Ana Ubilava (PhD in Law student, University of Sydney)
[This is a non-hyperlinked version of the posting at http://kluwerarbitrationblog.com/2017/03/01/international-investment-arbitration-across-asia-symposium/]
On 16 February 2017, the Centre for Asian and Pacific Law at the University of Sydney (CAPLUS) and the Sydney Centre for International Law (SCIL) co-hosted a symposium on the theme: “International Investment Arbitration Across Asia”. The symposium, sponsored also by the Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and Herbert Smith Freehills, brought together leading experts of international investment law from Southeast Asia, North Asia, India and Oceania. The symposium re-examined the historical development of international investment treaties in the Asian region, focusing on whether and how the countries may be shifting from rule takers to rule makers. A focus was on the ASEAN(+) treaties, including the (ASEAN+6) Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at an advanced stage of negotiations, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement, which was discussed more broadly as an urgent topic in the wake of the change of direction by the US under President Donald Trump’s administration. Participants at the symposium also elaborated on the experiences of Asian countries with ISDS mechanisms, and the attitude towards ISDS before and after first major investor-state arbitration (ISA) cases in the region. The many speakers and discussants for the event further explored possible future trajectories of international investment treaty policymaking of Asia-Pacific countries, especially China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Continue reading “International Investment Arbitration Across Asia: A Symposium”
This extensively researched and succinctly written book effectively compares the processes and outcomes of several major movements for victims’ redress from governments in Japan and Korea. The focus is on campaigns that developed especially from the 1990s, an era of perceived “judicialization of politics, enabled by democratization in Korea in 1987 and more competitive electoral politics in Japan since 1993” (p. 203), when victims sought redress for poor decisions regarding Hansen’s disease (leprosy, as discussed in ch. 3), blood tainted with Hepatitis C (ch. 4) and abductions by North Korean authorities (ch. 5).
Arrington examines not just the respective victims’ contestations with the state, but also the nature and timing of their interactions with key mediating institutions (ch. 2): the legal profession (to pursue litigation), the media (providing publicity for their causes), and activist groups (for lobbying). In particular, she emphases how too much early engagement with politicians – even “elite allies” – aimed at achieving legislative or bureaucratic intervention, as occurs more in Korea’s more open-textured democratic process, may lead perversely to poorer redress outcomes as the issue becomes more polarised politically.
Continue reading “Book Review – Celeste Arrington “Accidental Activists: Victim Movements and Government Accountability in Japan and South Korea” (Cornell University Press, 2016)”
[Below is a reaction to this news from the US on 22 November, from ARC discovery project co-researcher and Prof Leon Trakman, reproduced with permission from the forthcoming Newsletter of the International Law Association’s Australian branch. The Newsletter will also include my related but broader AFIA Blog posting with JNU A/Prof Jaivir Singh, “Does ISDS Promote FDI? Asia-Pacific Insights from and for Australia and India”.]
Continue reading “Guest Blog – “The implications of Trump’s denunciation of the TPP””