Fall 2021 Newsletter

October 30, 2021

Greetings to Our Alumni and Friends

This fall brings a slow but steady return to normalcy for Columbia Law School and the Center for Japanese Legal Studies. We had the pleasure of welcoming CLS students and scholars interested in Japan back to campus with a very well-attended in-person reception on October 12. The energy and enthusiasm for our programs remain strong. With many policies and protocols continuing to evolve, we are looking forward to resuming our on-campus programs and activities as soon as we can do so safely. As we look ahead to the other side of this transition, we want to look back and share with you some of the work that has been underway over this past year.

Center Events

Throughout 2020-21, the Center hosted and participated in events engaging students, scholars, and the community. Some of these include: 

September 28, 2020

Marriage Equality, Individual Rights and the Law in Japan

Presentation by Frank K. Upham, Wilf Family Professor of Property Law, NYU School of Law, followed by a conversation with Suzanne A. Kim, Professor of Law and Judge Denny Chin Scholar at Rutgers Law School; moderated by Center for Japanese Legal Studies executive director  Nobuhisa Ishizuka.

Professor Upham, widely recognized for his leading scholarship on Japanese law and its social and political role in contemporary Japan, discussed his current research at the intersection of law and social justice in Japan, focusing specifically on the country’s legal approach and judicial responses to marriage equality, gay rights and the individual’s relationship to society.  In doing so he drew on his current comparative study of the interaction of legal doctrine, social and economic structure, and culture in gender discrimination in France, Japan and the United States.

Watch the Recording

October 12, 2020
Criminal Justice in Japan – A Comparative Perspective

Presentation by David T. Johnson, Professor, University of Hawaii, followed by a discussion with Kiyo A. Matsumoto, United States District Judge, Eastern District of New York; moderated by Center for Japanese Legal Studies executive director Nobuhisa Ishizuka.

Professor Johnson, a prominent scholar on the criminal justice system in Japan and comparative law and society, discussed the fundamental differences in approach to criminal justice in Japan and the U.S.  Focusing on the role of state and society in regulating and monitoring individual accountability, as demonstrated by differences in the exercise of prosecutorial discretion and the role of admission of guilt, he drew on his extensive research to challenge us to re-examine basic assumptions about our own system of administering criminal justice.

Watch the Recording

Student Activities

Morrison & Foerster Public Interest Fellowships in Japan

In previous years Morrison & Foerster LLP has supported the Center for Japanese Legal Studies in awarding fully funded public-interest fellowships with Japanese organizations. We have temporarily suspended this program to comply with university safety guidelines and look forward to resuming this important work once travel funding is permitted.

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 2024 to Kenshin Cho and Skylar Shulman.

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 2021-2 leadership of Nihonhō Kenkyūkai (NHK) student group. Leadership includes Rochisha Togare as President, Thomas Sipp as VP for Social Affairs, Amanda Yang as VP for Social Affairs, Zhendong Xu as VP for Academic Affairs, Nicolle Kwon asVP for Career Affairs, and Ross Nicklos as Treasurer.
We extend our appreciation to the outgoing board in which Koko Zhang served as President, Nika Bederman as Vice President of Academic Affairs, Nian Zhan as Treasurer and Vice President of Social Affairs, Kan Ni as Vice President of Career Affairs, and Christopher Mawyer as 3L Representative.

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

University of Tokyo Faculty Exchange

One of the Center's flagship programs has been the Faculty exchange with the University of Tokyo. Although safety concerns and travel restrictions prevented us from undertaking the exchange this year, we look forward to resuming the program in the Spring.

Beyond Columbia Law School

Executive Director Nobuhisa Ishizuka joined Alexander Heffner, host of PBS’s The Open Mind, to discuss Japan’s longstanding and unamended constitution (listen to the conversation). He also co-authored a working paper, Doctrinal Conflict in Foreign Investment Regulation in India: ​​NTT Docomo vs. Tata Sons and the Case for “Downside Protection” with M. P. Ram Mohan and Sidharth Sharma.