2018 Newsletter

September 17, 2018

Greetings alumni and friends! A new academic year has begun at Columbia Law School! The Center for Japanese Legal Studies was very busy during 2017-2018 and we would like to take this moment to let you know about some of our activities. New Center for Japanese Legal Studies Executive Director, Nobuhisa "Nobu" Ishizuka

CJLS Welcomes New Executive Director!

This year the Center for Japanese Legal Studies welcomed Nobuhisa “Nobu” Ishizuka CC ’82, LAW ’86, as its new executive director.

As a student at Columbia Law School, Mr. Ishizuka bene- fited from the expertise of Japanese legal studies scholars Walter Gellhorn ’31, who helped write the Japanese Constitution after World War II, and Michael Young, who went on to become president of three universities after serving in a senior position at the U.S. Department of State. Now, more than 30 years later, Mr. Ishizuka is following in their footsteps, taking over from Curtis Milhaupt ’89, as executive director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies, which Professors Gellhorn and Young helped found in 1980. 

Mr. Ishizuka is the third executive director of the Center, which was the first, and remains the only, center in the country to focus exclusively on Japanese law.

“Nobu is a Columbian through and through,” said Gillian Lester, Columbia Law School’s Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, in announcing the appointment. “And with more than 30 years’ experience as a practitioner, he will ensure the continued vitality of the Center, which has long been an intellectual hub for legal exchange between the United States and Japan.”

 Mr. Ishizuka has been an active alumnus, serving as a member of the Boards of Visitors of both Columbia Law School and Columbia College. Selected after an exhaustive international search, Mr. Ishizuka assumed his new role at the Center in early February.

Read more about Mr. Ishizuka.

Visit to Tokyo by the Dean and New Executive Director

For the third year in a row, Gillian Lester, Columbia Law School’s Dean and the Lucy G. Moses Professor of Law, traveled to Japan to see friends in the alumni community there. This event, more popular than ever with more than 90 alumni attending, took place on the evening of  June 18, 2018 at the Peninsula Hotel in Tokyo, surrounded by sparkling nighttime views.

 Professor Benjamin L. Liebman, the Robert L. Lieff Professor of Law and the director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies at Columbia Law School, welcomed the group and introduced the speakers. The alumni also had an opportunity to meet Mr. Nobuhisa Ishizuka.

 During Mr. Ishizuka’s remarks, he highlighted the work of the Center and its significance under the current economic and political climate in Asia, noting “the importance of advancing understanding of Japan through the study of its legal history, traditions, and institutions.”
 He said, “With the support of many in this room, [the Center] has attracted talented students from around the U.S. and elsewhere, provided internship opportunities for Columbia Law students in Japan, promoted scholarly exchanges between the U.S. and Japan, and has been a resource for Japanese students pursuing advanced legal studies in the U.S.”

The attendees also enjoyed closing remarks from Mr. Fumihide Sugimoto ’93, partner, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu and the president of our Japan alumni association. During the dean’s address, she underscored Columbia Law School’s unique role and advances in teaching Japanese law and bridging the law communities of Japan and the U.S. She noted that the number of LL.M. students from Japan increased from 18 to 21 this year. She also mentioned that over the past decade, the number of Japanese LL.M. students enrolled annually at Columbia Law School has more than doubled. In addition, the number of our total student body -- both J.D.s and LL.M.s -- studying Japanese law has doubled over the past 15 years. The law school has also continued to place more students in jobs in Tokyo than any other major U.S. law school.
 "Columbia Law School's Center for Japanese Legal Studies is a leading global hub for the study of Japanese law and the Japanese legal system,” Dean Lester said recently, recalling her visit. “Under the leadership of Mr. Ishizuka, the Center has strengthened its commitment to providing Columbia Law students with the tools to practice law in Japan and to execute complex cross-border transactions on behalf of international clients. Nowhere is the impact of the Center and its work clearer than in Tokyo, where Mr. Ishizuka and I met with dozens of Columbia alumni in May. Their steadfast engagement and support ensure that Columbia will remain at the forefront of the study and practice of Japanese Law well into the future."

Photos of the Dean and Executive Director's Visit

Faculty Exchange with the University of Tokyo

This year as part of its on-going faculty exchange program with the University of Tokyo, Columbia welcomed two professors and sent two professors. Minoru Nakazato, professor of law, University of Tokyo Faculty of Law was the first professor to arrive during the spring 2018 semester at Columbia. He is an expert in tax law, international transactions, and law and economics. The second professor was Kentaro Matsubara, professor of law, University of Tokyo, and a renowned legal historian. This was the fourth visit by both professors to the Law School under the auspices of the exchange program. The topics of Professors Nakazato and Matsubara’s lectures can be found in the Events section of this newsletter, below.

 One professor traveling from Columbia to Tokyo this year was Daniel Richman, the Paul J. Kellner Professor of Law. He gave four lectures on federal criminal law and enforcement during the weeks of June 4 and June 11, hosted by Kichimoto Asaka, professor of law at the University of Tokyo.  Professor Richman spoke on the structure of the federal system; federal corruption law and its development; plea bargaining; and cooperation agreements. With the help of several former Columbia LL.M.s, he separately held discussions about cooperation agreements and corruption prosecutions with a group of judges from the Tokyo District Court and a group of prosecutors from the Ministry of Justice, and was able to observe portions of two trials. He also had wonderful discussions with Professor Gentaro Kamei from Keio University, who recently had been a visiting scholar at CLS.

 The second Columbia professor to travel to Tokyo this year was Thomas Merrill, the Charles Evans Hughes Professor of Law. Professor Merrill spent “a delightful three weeks in Japan,” the last two of which, from May 7 to May 18, were at the University of Tokyo teaching in the exchange program. The subject of his lectures was "Basic Principles of American Administrative Law." Topics covered included delegated lawmaking authority, fair process for affected persons, agency rulemaking process, and divided interpretational authority.  He also attended a reception for international graduate students and was able to meet many of the students who are currently studying law in Japan from elsewhere.

Student Activities

Morrison & Foerster Public Interest Fellowships in Japan, 2018

Thanks to continuing generous support of Morrison & Foerster LLP, the Center for Japanese Legal Studies once again awarded fully funded public-interest fellowships in Japan to two CLS students for the summer of 2018. 
Julia Caudal, a student of Columbia’s Paris Global Alliance, worked as a legal fellow at Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT), Tokyo.  GHIT works to make health solutions accessible in developing countries where drugs for infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDs and malaria are not available because patients cannot afford the price. Julia joined a team that planned, managed, and monitored GHIT’s portfolio of investments in the discovery and development of new health technologies. Under the guidance of Morrison & Foerster’s pro bono counsels, she conducted research on the regulation of medicines in African countries and helped draft agreements between GHIT and grantees.
Daniel Fahrenthold ’20, interned at Human Rights Now in the English-language advocacy group. While there, he helped prepare written and oral statements which were given at the 38th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. He researched and drafted reports on a wide range of human rights issues, including genocide and ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, attacks on civil and political rights in Cambodia, and discriminatory punishment of women around the world. Daniel also helped to write a comparative law report on hate-speech legislation, proposing that Japan amend its hate-speech laws to be more proactive in the face of increasing discrimination against ethnic minorities and others in Japan.

Summer Associates in Japan, 2018

Peter Claus ’19, worked at Nishimura & Asahi this summer. His activities included drafting agreements related to a multitude of M&A transactional matters. He also researched and drafted memoranda related to changes to the Japanese Foreign Employment Law. He also worked on areas related to data protection, with a particular focus on the implications of the GDPR legislation, and a comparison of privacy regimes. While not at work, he enjoyed events with other summer associates such as making sushi, listening to shamisen music, and participating in traditional glass cutting.
Letian Ge ’20, worked this summer at Momo-o, Matsuo & Namba (MMN). The assignments that he received at MMN included drafting a cross-examination outline for an international arbitration hearing and drafting client memoranda on the legal status of the cannabis industry in the United States. A highlight of his summer was to stay at a hot spring hotel in Hakone with other members of the firm (sponsored by the firm!) and to sing karaoke with his colleagues. He also enjoyed wandering in Shibuya and exploring the restaurants and shops there. 
Peter Kim ’20, worked at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu this summer, where he was assigned to a variety of legal matters involving corporate M&A and real estate transactions. Outside of work, Peter explored the streets of Tokyo with friends, watched Japan play in the World Cup with colleagues, and traveled to Kyoto, Kobe, and Okinawa. His most memorable experience, however, was hiking up to the summit of Mt. Fuji to catch the sunrise.
Xochitl Romo ’19, worked as a summer associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York and Tokyo. She worked on a variety of M&A, funds, and credit transactions. She focused on capital markets work, where she helped draft sections of offering memoranda, conduct due diligence, and attend client meetings. She conducted pro bono research on human rights violations in Myanmar, and started a project with Tokyo partner, Alan Cannon, on sexual harassment law research in the wake of the #MeToo movement. She continued the sexual harassment law project at Human Rights Now, Tokyo, helping the NGO advocate to the Japanese government to address human-rights violations that women may be facing in Japan. This fall, Xochitl will continue studying Japanese law, including corporate governance and securities regulation, at Hitotsubashi University. As part of her program, she will intern at Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners in Tokyo.
Chantelle Southerland ’19, was a summer associate at Morrison & Foerster’s Tokyo office.  She worked with several different practice groups. Her assignments included drafting a summary judgment motion for a patent case, assisting with the due diligence review of an acquisition target, researching various legal issues, giving a presentation on fair use, and drafting agreements. She also participated in many firm-sponsored events. These included going on a trip to a volcanic island, attending a jazz performance at the Cotton Club, visiting an escape room, watching proceedings at the Tokyo District Court, and dining at numerous restaurants.


Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu Fellowship

The Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (NO&T) Fellowship helps Columbia Law School attract the top J.D. candidates in the country with a professional interest in Japan. The Center awarded two NO&T Fellowships to incoming students in the Class of 2021.
Cory Evans ’21, graduated from University of California at San Diego, majoring in philosophy. He holds a doctorate from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is appointed as an assistant professor at Baruch College. His research interests include the history and philosophy of Shinto; Cory and his wife were the first two non-Japanese married at Izumo Taisha shrine in Shimane Prefecture. Since 2010 he has advised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan on American politics. In this role he created a deep-learning system that forecasts legislation and other political events. Cory has helped lead several trips by American elected officials to Japan and has written numerous published articles on Japanese politics and history. He holds fourth dan certification in Shogi as well as third dan in Iaido.
Roger Lu ’21, graduated cum laude from Dartmouth College with a degree in history and government. His interest in history led him to write a prize-winning undergraduate thesis on the political impact of friendships formed between American and Japanese citizens during the 1920s, around the time of the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923. For that project, he spent countless hours locating and reading personal accounts in various government archives. Roger was also a JET program English teacher in Shizuoka, Japan. He has also interned at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., and at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in New York City.

Shapiro Fellowship

The Center awards the Shapiro Fellowship to Columbia Law School students affiliated with the Center. The Isaac and Jacqueline Weiss Shapiro Fellowship supports research on Japanese law by Columbia Law School students working under the supervision of a Columbia University faculty member. This year’s fellowship will be awarded during the academic year.

New Leadership of NHK Student Group for 2018–2019

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies would like to introduce the 2018-2019 leadership of Nihonhō Kenkyūkai (NHK) student group. New leadership includes Emily Gerry  ’20, as president and Min Chung ’20, as vice president. The Japanese LL.M. representative and other positions will be selected this fall. Thanks to the outgoing board: Xochitl Romo, president; Peter Claus and Ben Minkoff '19. treasurers; David Chough '19, and Joanna Hwang '19, vice presidents for social affairs; and Sungha Park '19. and Maya Uchima '19, vice presidents for career affairs.


"Cross-Border M&A Conference 2018: Recent Trends in Fintech, Cybersecurity and Cross-border M&A"

The first major conference on cross-border M&A organized by the Center under new direction of Mr. Ishizuka took place on April 23, 2018. The event was co-sponsored by  Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP at its New York City offices at Times Square. This was the first of what is hoped to be many events on cross-border transactions sponsored by CJLS. Events like this illustrate the importance of the Center’s ongoing efforts to bridge both scholars and practitioners of Japanese law in the U.S. and Japan. More than 100 people attended this first event.


  • Nobuhisa Ishizuka / Executive Director, Center for Japanese Legal Studies / Columbia Law School
  • Kenton J. King / Partner / Skadden / Mergers & Acquisitions; Corporate Governance / Palo Alto

Panel 1 / Cybersecurity

  • Michael E. Leiter / Partner / Skadden / National Security, CFIUS, Cybersecurity and Privacy / Washington, D.C.
  • Joshua Mitts / Associate Professor of Law / Columbia Law School
  • Greg Rattray / Managing Director / Global Cyber Partnerships and Government Strategy / JP Morgan Chase
  • Moderator: Kenji Taneda / Partner / Corporate / Skadden Tokyo

Panel 2 / Fintech

  • Kathryn Judge / Professor of Law / Columbia Law School
  • Stuart D. Levi / Partner / Skadden / IP, Blockchain, Outsourcing, Cybersecurity and Privacy / New York
  • Matt Musselman / Executive Director & Assistant General Counsel, Legal Bank Regulatory Group / JP Morgan Chase
  • Moderator: Sven G. Mickisch / Partner / Skadden / Financial Institutions; Mergers & Acquisitions / New York

Panel 3 / M&A

  • Mitsuhiro Kamiya / Partner / Skadden / Mergers & Acquisitions / Tokyo
  • Michael E. Leiter
  • Michael J. Mies / Partner / Corporate / Skadden / Corporate / Palo Alto
  • Moderator: Nobuhisa Ishizuka


Lectures  by Professor Minoru Nakazato:

  • “Law and Economics in Japan” / February 14, 2018
  • “The Impact of Tax Shelters on Government Structures” / February 7, 2018

Lectures by Professor Kentaro Matsubara:

  • “Roman Law and the Russo-Japanese War: Legal History and Comparative Law from an East Asian Perspective” / March 26, 2018
  • “Credit, Possession and Confucius: State Formation and Property in East Asian Societies” / March 22, 2018
  • “The Barbarian You Know: Sino-Japanese Legal Relations and the East Asian Modern” / March 19, 2018

Other Events
“Features and Futures of the Japanese Employment System”
Hisashi Ikeda, Associate Professor, University of Hokkaido Graduate School of Law / April 12, 2018
“Extra-territorial Application of Japanese Competition Law in Light of the Latest Judgment of the Japanese Supreme Court”
Hiroshi Oda, Member, ICC International Court of Arbitration; Professor, University College London; Attorney at Law, Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu, Japan / April 6, 2018

“How Significant are Japan's Corporate Governance Reforms? A Conversation with Alicia Ogawa and Curtis Milhaupt”
Alicia Ogawa, Director, Project on Japanese Corporate Governance and Stewardship, Center on Japanese Economy and Business, Columbia Business School /  Curtis J. Milhaupt, (at the time) the Parker Professor of Comparative Corporate Law, the Fuyo Professor of Japanese Law, and Director, Center for Japanese Legal Studies, Columbia Law School. Currently: Professor of Law, Stanford University School of Law / November 10, 2017
“Japanese Americans Interned During WW II: Lessons for Today”
Grant Ujifusa, former Legislative Strategy Chair, Japanese American Citizen League, which obtained redress and reparations for Japanese Americans interned during World War II. / November 7, 2017