International Human Rights Activities
The JFBA engages in the research and study of international human rights treaties and other international human rights standards and endeavors to improve the human rights situation within Japan. Specific activities include the submission of NGO reports for the UPR (Universal Periodic Review) about Japan to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and alternative reports to respective treaty bodies of the international human rights treaties that Japan has ratified (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child). In addition, the JFBA maintains a page of international activities and international human rights on its web site and endeavors to enhance domestic understanding and awareness of international human rights issues. Furthermore, the JFBA was accredited with NGO consultative status by the UN Economic and Social Council and has attended sessions of UN meetings including the UN Human Rights Council in this capacity.
International Exchange Activities
The JFBA is a member of four international organizations, the IBA (International Bar Association), LAWASIA (The Law Association for Asia and the Pacific), the ICB (International Criminal Bar) and ILAC (International Legal Assistance Consortium). The JFBA also operates the information center that provides information for POLA (Presidents of Law Associations in Asia) member organizations.
The JFBA signed memorandums on strengthening legal exchange and friendly mutual cooperation with the Law Council of Australia, the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Korean Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the All China Lawyers Association, and the German Federal Bar and deepened relationships with legal organizations overseas.
The JFBA receives visits from legal organizations around the world for the purpose of research, studies, and tours and also sends its own missions to interact and exchange information with bar associations in other regions.
The JFBA began to be active in international cooperation in 1995 and has sent lecturers to seminars held by various organizations in Japan that invite trainees from overseas and also dispatches attorneys to countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, Laos, and Indonesia, as JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) experts.
In 2001 the JFBA applied to be a partnership enterprise with the JICA and for a three-year period from September 2002 to August 2005 provided assistance for the establishment and operation of the Lawyers' Training Center in Cambodia and for enhancements to the legal aid system in that country. As for the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia, the JFBA started a new support project in December 2007 commissioned by the JICA.
Provision of Information Inside and Outside of Japan
The JFBA has been actively providing information overseas regarding the human rights situation in Japan, the Japanese legal system, and our organization. In particular, the JFBA launched its English and Chinese websites, publishes the JFBA English brochure, and provides English translations of important statements, opinions, and articles of the JFBA newspaper. The JFBA also occasionally releases English news on crucial issues. Furthermore, the JFBA has long argued that the government should take responsibility for laying an infrastructure for a translation project in order to internationalize the Japanese judicial system, and the government has now taken the initiative to translate Japanese laws. The JFBA has participated in the government project to lay the groundwork for moving ahead with these translations.
Ms. Kyoko Ogawa, the immediate past vice president of the JFBA over international relations and gender issues, has recently contributed to the March 2013 issue of the monthly report of the Austrian Bar Association (Österreichischen Rechtsanwaltskammertags). The title of her article is “The Present Condition of Women Lawyers in Japan from the Point of View of the Third Female Vice President of the JFBA.” Based on valuable experiences she has gained as a vice president, she described the current status and issues surrounding Japanese women lawyers.
Please click the article below(PDF file;29KB)
In addition, for Japanese audiences, the JFBA website has the International Human Rights Library and the World Bar Associations Directory on bar associations/law societies of the world. Furthermore, the JFBA provides information for attorneys who are interested in working in international fields.
Overseas Visiting Fellow Program
This program gives the chance to study overseas to attorneys who engage in public-interest activities. Agreements were made with New York University in 1997, the University of California, Berkeley in 1999, and the University of Illinois in 2007 regarding the taking in of attorneys recommended by the JFBA as visiting fellows at the respective law schools. As of the end of 2009, 23 attorneys have studied overseas under this program, and after returning to Japan, they are engaged in public-interest activities utilizing their experiences.