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October 2018

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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Japanese Law in Asia-Pacific Socio-Economic Context
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