President’s Message

Reiko Fuchigami

Reiko Fuchigami, President of the JFBA

My name is Reiko Fuchigami and I was elected President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (the “JFBA”) in an election held on February 9, 2024. I am honored to become the first woman to be elected President of the JFBA in its 75-year history since its establishment in 1947.

During my 2-year term as the President of the JFBA, I will strive to tackle the following challenges, working together with JFBA members.

Enhancing the Human and Physical Infrastructure of Family Courts

As society is becoming more diverse and complicated, a fundamental understanding and view of family is naturally becoming more diverse as well, with an amendment to Japan’s family law being planned to reflect this change. In addition, there has been a growing number of domestic relations cases with complex and difficult circumstances, with family courts expected to play an increasingly important role in addressing the issues. The JFBA will work to urge the government to make necessary improvements, including enhancing the human and physical infrastructure of family courts, to improve the speed and quality of related proceedings.

Promoting Gender Equality

I will work to promote gender equality toward realizing a society in which people will respect each other and their diverse values, as well as opportunities for finding issues. I will work to strongly urge the government, as well as the Diet, to allow married couples the option to keep both of their premarital surnames, an issue which was first discussed by the Legislative Council a quarter-century ago but has yet to be achieved.

Disaster Recovery and Disaster Victims and Survivors Support

I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who lost their lives in the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, which occurred on January 1st, 2024, and extend my heartfelt sympathies to all of those affected by the disaster. Various areas of Japan are frequently hit by floods and earthquakes each year, and large-scale disasters, such as major earthquakes, one occurring along the Nankai Trough and one directly hitting the Tokyo Metropolitan area, are predicted to occur in the near future. I will work to establish readiness for attorneys to provide support to disaster victims while making proposals to the government to amend the disaster management legislation using a legislative facts-based approach.

IT Adaption in Civil Court Proceedings

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the environment surrounding the judicial system has changed significantly due to rapid IT adaption and digitalization. To address this, the online submission of court documents in civil court proceedings and other measures are being planned to be implemented within fiscal year 2025. I will work to ensure that the benefits of IT adaption and digitalization in the judicial system will be enjoyed by all people through discussions and coordination with relevant organizations.

Reforming Japan’s Criminal Justice System

We are only halfway to reforming Japan’s criminal justice system. There are many important issues in this field, such as expanding the implementation of the audio and video recording of the entire process of interrogations to all cases and processes, establishing a system to ensure counsel’s presence at interrogations, and achieving the introduction of online meetings with defense council for defendants and suspects through IT adaption in criminal proceedings. In addition, I will work to address issues related to a system to order the provision of electronic data, which was recently proposed by the government regarding making the provision of digital data upon the government’s request mandatory and introducing criminal penalties in relation to such a system.

There are other various fields of issues in which the JFBA plays the roles of advocates, such as those related to children, older persons, persons with disabilities, foreign nationals, and crime victims, as well as those in fields such as consumer rights, poverty, pollution and the environment, and disinformation. The JFBA is committed to continue to conduct studies and research on these issues and publish proposals on how to address them.

In addition, I will work to communicate the JFBA’s activities to the public through the media to raise public awareness towards our activities. I appreciate your continued interest and understanding towards the JFBA’s activities.


April 1, 2024

Reiko Fuchigami

President, Japan Federation of Bar Associations


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