Tadashi ARA, President of the JFBA
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am honored to have been elected to serve as the President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA), receiving more than 10,000 votes from JFBA members, in the revote that took place on March 11, 2020, by doing so winning a plurality in 40 bar associations which is over three-quarters of all bar associations. I look forward to serving to the very best of my ability during my two-year term starting in April. I would like kindly ask for your continued support for the duration of my term.
Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping the country, seriously impacting the lives of citizens. As lawyers and bar associations, we are committed to meeting the challenges in these difficult times by fully optimizing our past experiences and expertise garnered through our research and studies to date
In addition, multiple problems have recently arisen in the Government and the central administrative bodies that have the potential to undermine the rule of law, transforming it into a mere formality. As the largest legal professional organization in Japan, the JFBA intends to take the necessary and appropriate steps to address this situation.
It is also our position that the JFBA should undertake, while being mindful of our internal consensuses, measures required to counter any movements that challenge the preservation of constitutionalism and uphold the fundamental principles of the Japanese Constitution.
With regards to the initiative to abolish the death penalty, although this undertaking is indeed moving forward—with in-depth discussions taking place in bar associations as well as resolutions calling for the abolishment of capital punishment being adopted by local bar associations and their federations—we must further advance this cause. Meanwhile, additional efforts are required to strengthen legal assistance for victims of crime.
The Enhancement of activities to uphold human rights protection is a crucial mission of the JFBA. Of equal importance as we continue such efforts are endeavors to expand the realm of our profession to procure the sustainability of this mission. A notable perspective as we aspire to achieve this is “connecting human rights protection with legal services”, in other words, the significance of lawyers playing a certain role and in a sustainable manner, in public interest activities.
In addition to the above, we face a broad range of issues and challenges including; enhancing civil justice reform, addressing issues regarding the demographics of the legal community and education of legal professionals, expediting criminal justice reform centered on the establishment of the rights of suspects/defendants and attorneys, providing support to young members, attending to the issue of unpaid legal apprenticeships, accelerating gender equality, reinforcing the operation of the Houterasu (free legal advice center), addressing the amendment of the Juvenile Act, and addressing issues related to natural disasters. The JFBA is committed to continuing its activities to achieve these goals or to find appropriate solutions to the issues.
The fifteen Vice Presidents, the Secretary General Reiko Fuchigami, the Deputy Secretary Generals, and staff members will collectively contend with any challenges we may face. I look forward to your continued support and cooperation.
April 1, 2020
President, Japan Federation of Bar Associations