Fall 2019 Newsletter

November 14, 2019

Greetings alumni and friends!

A new academic year has begun at Columbia Law School! The Center for Japanese Legal Studies was very busy during 2018-2019 and we would like to take this moment to let you know about some of our activities.

Center Events

Throughout 2019, the Center hosted and participated in a wide range of events engaging students, scholars, and the community. Some of these include: 

May 27, 2019 

In Tokyo, Japan, the Center held a lunch-time event for alumni featuring Jane Ginsburg, the Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property Law and Faculty Director of Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts, Columbia Law School. A special thank you to Fumihide Sugimoto '93 and Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu for hosting this event.

April 9, 2019 

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies was excited to co-host "The Future of the US – Japan Alliance: Advancing the Vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific" with Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Bernard and Susan Liautaud Visiting Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford University; and former National Security Advisor to President Donald Trump. Other co-hosts included School of International and Public Affairs, The Weatherhead East Asian Institute, and The Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies.

Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster delivers an address to the Columbia community about US strategy toward the Indo-Pacific region
March 13, 2019 

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies co-hosted, with the Council on Foreign Relations, a conference on Constitutional Reform in Japan:  Prospects, Process and Implications, at Columbia Law School.  

Nobuhisa Ishizuka welcomes attending delegates to the conference

Convened by Nobuhisa Ishizuka, Executive Director of the Center for Japanese Legal Studies and Lecturer in Law, Columbia Law School, speakers included: Rosalind Dixon, Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales; Carol Gluck, George Sansom Professor of History, Columbia University; Menaka Guruswamy, BR Ambedkar Research Scholar and Lecturer, Columbia Law School; Takako Hikotani, Gerald L. Curtis Associate Professor of Modern Japanese Politics and Foreign Policy, Columbia University; Helen Hardacre, Reischauer Institute Professor of Japanese Religions and Society, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University; Jongcheol Kim, Professor of Law, Yonsei University School of Law; Kenneth Mori McElwain, Associate Professor, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo; Daniel M. Smith, Associate Professor, Department of Government, Harvard University; Sheila A. Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; and Hideshi Tokuchi, Former Vice-Minister of Defense for International Affairs, Japan Ministry of Defense

Takako Hikotani, Kenneth Mori McElwain, Daniel M. Smith in the first panel discussion: “Domestic Political Landscape”

Co-sponsors for the day-long program included the Toshiba Library and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute

Highlights and full audio recordings from the conference

Papers presented at the conference are scheduled to be published in the forthcoming issue of the Columbia Journal of Asian Law.


March 14 - 15, 2019 

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies hosted, with the National Defense Academy of Japan, a workshop on the “US - Japan Alliance and the Power of International Law," at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University.

March 14, 2019 

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies hosted The Honorable Shinsuke J. Sugiyama, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to the United States, who gave a speech on the current state of U.S.-Japan relations.

February 22, 2019 

Mr. Ishizuka spoke on "Japan and Constitutional Revision" at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington D.C. as part of its Roundtable Series on Nationalism, Japan, and a Changing Asia.  The event was hosted by Sheila Smith, Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council. Participants included staff to two U.S. Senators, a senior staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, former Department of Defense and National Security Council officials, and a senior editor of the Wall Street Journal.

February 1, 2019

 Mr. Ishizuka spoke on a panel at the 2019 New York-Japan Law Forum.  Joining him on the panel was Michael F. Coyne, Executive Officer of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. and MUFG Bank, and General Counsel of MUFG America.  For the past 20 years the Forum has gathered annually U.S. and Japanese attorneys, in-house counsel and LL.M. students with an interest in Japan, together with guests from other fields including business, finance and medicine.

Student Activities

Morrison & Foerster Public Interest Fellowships in Japan

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 three CLS students for the summer of 2019.

Roger Lu and Kimberly Selene Mejia-Cuellar spent their summers at Human Rights Now!, a non-governmental organization that covers a range of human rights issues in Asia such as business and human rights, armed conflict, and women's rights. Kimberly conducted factual and legal research and drafted legal memoranda on migrant workers in Malaysia. Roger led an investigation into migrant worker conditions at Tokyo 2020 Olympics construction sites. Both also drafted oral statements presented at the 41st session of the U.N. Human Rights Council.  Cory Evans Alexander worked under the supervision of Dr. Tomohiko Taniguchi at Keio University and the Office of the Prime Minister.

I treasured my time in Japan. Working abroad gave me a renewed perspective on labor and immigrants’ rights.

Kim Mejía-Cuéllar, Morrison & Foerster Public Interest Fellow

Summer Associates in Japan

Yoshihito Tada split his summer between Nishimura & Asahi and White & Case in Tokyo. At Nishimura, he worked on numerous tasks ranging from data privacy to M&A. At White & Case, he was assigned to the infrastructure and project finance team where he reviewed gas supply agreements and did some arbitration-related work. Outside of work, he made the most of his time in Japan, including excursions to Kyoto and Nara, outings baseball games, and a dinner boat cruise.

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 2022 to Dolan Bortner and Nika Bederman.

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.

NHK Student Group

The Center for Japanese Legal Studies would like to introduce the 2019-20 leadership of Nihonhō Kenkyūkai (NHK) student group. New leadership includes Christopher Mawyer as president; Roger Lu as vice president, Yoshihito Tada as Treasurer and Emily Gerry as 3L Representative. We extend our appreciation to the outgoing board in which Emily Gerry served as president and Min Chung served as vice president. 

Interested in NHK? Please feel free to contact NHK with any questions that you may have at nhk@law.columbia.edu.

University of Tokyo Faculty Exchange

The Center administers an annual faculty exchange program between Columbia Law School and the University of Tokyo Faculty of Law, under which two members of the faculty of each university teach at the other university for several weeks. Columbia University hosted Minoru Nakazato, Associate Professor, Institute of Social Science, an expert in tax law, international transactions, and law & economics; and Takeshi Fujitani, Associate Professor, Institute of Social Science, a leading researcher in economics and fiscal discipline. In exchange, the Center sent Jane Ginsburg, the Morton L. Janklow Professor of Literary and Artistic Property and faculty director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts.

In the Media

Mr. Nobuhisa Ishizuka has been active in building awareness and understanding of current topics in Japanese law. He conducted interviews with Forbes and the Wall Street Journal and was contacted by numerous news media about current Japanese legal issues, including CNN, France24, and WGN Radio. Separately, he consulted on Japanese legal, business and economic matters for the HBO series “Succession” and the forthcoming TV adaptation of “Pachinko.”