Written by: Profs James Claxton (Kobe U) and Luke Nottage

[This is an unfootnoted draft of a posting prepared for the Kluwer Mediation Blog.]

These are heady days in international mediation circles. A panel discussion earlier this summer at an UNCITRAL conference entitled “Feel the Earth Move – Shifts in the International Dispute Resolution Landscape,” dedicated largely to mediation, captures the sentiment. Reasons for the excitement include the approval of a draft of the UNCITRAL treaty for enforcing mediated settlement agreements (the Singapore Mediation Convention), a reported 20% increase in commercial mediation in the United Kingdom, commercial mediation competitions springing up in Asia (Melbourne in 2017 and Hong Kong in 2018), and a “Belt and Road” initiative that is giving priority to mediation, characterized by some in the Chinese government as one of the “trinity” of international dispute services.

Where these movements fall on the Richter scale, and whether mediation will take an equal place in the dispute resolution pantheon, will only be known with time. But the apparent momentum offers an opportunity to return our attention to the creation of an international mediation center in Kyoto - an initiative first considered in our previous post on the Center and a related post concerning the broader reworking of international dispute resolution services in Japan. Those posts identified an initiative by the Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA) and Doshisha University in Kyoto to create an institution, the Japan International Mediation Center in Kyoto (JIMC-Kyoto), to administer international commercial mediations with operations beginning in late 2018. If the announcement of its creation means that the Centre was put into first gear, the recent developments outlined below mean that the JIMC-Kyoto has moved into second gear. But traffic is usually heavy in Japan and things are still moving slowly.

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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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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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[See here for the first half of this book launch / review.]

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[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.

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[Parts I and II of this book are reviewed in earlier postings.]

Asia’s Changing International Investment Regime: Sustainability, Regionalization and Arbitration, Julien Chaisse, Tomoko Ishikawa and Sufian Jusoh (eds),
Springer, 2017, xii + 260pp, ISBN 978-981-10-588, 120 Euros

Reviewed by: Luke Nottage and Ana Ubilava

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[Part I and Part III of this book are reviewed in earlier and subsequent postings]

Asia’s Changing International Investment Regime: Sustainability, Regionalization and Arbitration, Julien Chaisse, Tomoko Ishikawa and Sufian Jusoh (eds),
Springer, 2017, xii + 260pp, ISBN 978-981-10-588, 120 Euros

Reviewed by: Luke Nottage and Ana Ubilava

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Japanese Law in Asia-Pacific Socio-Economic Context
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