[This is a research note for a documentary series being developed from Sydney analysing the world-wide spread of Christianity, which now attracts more believers in Asia and Africa than in the West. Christianity has not recovered from severe persecution in Japan during the 16th century, including martyrdoms in Nagasaki and Kyoto, but it has left surprising legacies - as noted even by the Gekkeikan sake company from southern Kyoto. The story reveals interesting points of intersection with Japan's history, culture and law.]

Japan is a fascinating case study of a country in Asia that had an early and positive encounter with Christianity from the mid-16th century, but then severe persecution by Shoguns (generalissimos) seeking to maintain political control (Part 1 below). Western powers forced the country to reopen to the world from the mid-19th century and to allow Christianity to be promoted again. But the new government leaders pursued a strong secularist agenda to modernize the nation and rid itself of “unequal” trade treaties. This paradoxically fed into support of nationalist and militarist State Shinto, resulting in pressure on the Church as well as the Pacific War (Part 2). Christianity never took off in a big way in Japan, even after WW2 (Part 3), partly because it was too associated with America as a potential (& eventually actual) occupier, in contrast with Korea where Christianity and the West were seen by nationalists as potential allies against the Japanese as colonisers. Yet Christianity arguably has had a “hidden” influence through many centuries in Japan (Part 4). It can be seen as an example of how a small but dedicated following can have a disproportionate influence across many spheres – big and small (Part 5).

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[Draft presentation / review for an authors-meet-readers session at the Asian Law & Society Association conference, 29 Nov - 1 Dec, Bond University. Remarks / asides in [[square brackets] and/or hyperlinked references may be revised.]

(Cambridge University Press 2017) xiii + 264 pages, ISDN 978-1-107-19469-4 Hardback

Reviewed by: Luke Nottage
University of Sydney Law School & Australian Network for Japanese Law (ANJeL)

This is a fascinating, compellingly argued, carefully researched and beautifully written empirical analysis of how the relative strength of “new left” against traditional right and old left political parties impacts differently on the introduction and design of “jury” or “lay judge” systems since the 1990s in East Asia and beyond. Kage’s mixed-method study convincingly shows how such political dynamics result in different degrees to which power is transferred away from professional judges and towards lay people being involved in adjudicating criminal matters. This transfer of power, which reduces judicial independence vis-à-vis the public (by involving them in adjudication) during an era where independence has often been growing vis-à-vis politicians, is most extensive in Spain (with a lay judge system was introduced in 1995), quite extensive in Japan (with the saiban’in system introduced in 2004, although not implemented until 2009), less extensive in South Korea (2007), and least extensive in Taiwan (comparing a “lay observer” Bill submitted in 2012). Key benchmarks for such a comparative assessment (summarized in Table 1.2 at p17) are whether professional judges retain powers to determine which cases end up being heard by lay judges, and voting rules allow lay judges to dominate binding decisions (p15).

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Written by: Karl Faase (CEO, Olive Tree Media) and Luke Nottage

[Below is our review, published in abridged form on 25 October 2018 by Eternity News (without hyperlinks and under a different title), for an important new book entitled "Coddling the American Mind". The book, by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, argues that a new generation is emerging in the USA that believes three "untruths" contrary to the lessons from mainstream psychology nowadays as well as from the wisdom literatures from many cultures:

1. What doesn't kill me makes me weaker (so: always keep me "safe"!)
2. Always trust my feelings (so: don't engage my rational brain!)
3. The world is a battle been good and bad people (so: don't look for good within everyone!)

Our review suggests that drivers of these untruths are also evident in Australia, but (so far) to a lesser degree. I think the drivers may be even weaker in Japan, with these three untruths still contrary to traditional wisdom there. But that further comparison would be an interesting topic for future research.]

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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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Japanese Law in Asia-Pacific Socio-Economic Context
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