Welcome to the Japan Federation of Bar Associations ("JFBA").
The current situation in Japan is in the midst of major social changes including a declining population, need for fiscal consolidation, globalization, diffusion of IT, and further, the shift from the practice of lifetime employment to an increase in the adoption of non-regular employment, while institutional reforms are being required in every aspect of the society. On the other hand, as the international situation changes, intense discussions are taking place among people over the national security framework such as how to preserve the peace, whether or not to amend the Constitution of Japan. Under such circumstances, the roles of the judiciary, particularly the roles of the JFBA, are becoming ever-more important.
After the World War II, overcoming the bitter experiences in the past history when attorneys were placed under the supervision of state institutions and as a result their activities to protect human rights were restricted, the JFBA acquired a high degree of self-governance and has not been placed under the supervision of any state institution.
Further, all attorneys in Japan must register with the JFBA. Attorneys may handle any legal matter exclusively in principle. In this manner, attorneys in Japan are entitled to handle legal affairs exclusively, enjoying a strong autonomy under a compulsory membership system. Given the situation, attorneys and the JFBA are entrusted with the mission of protecting fundamental human rights and achieving social justice under Article 1 of the Attorney Act.
Under such a system, our predecessors have achieved significant results in their various human-rights protection activities, and have proactively addressed wide range of judiciary issues. However, the JFBA today still faces a number of challenges, in the areas of activities to protect peace and human rights, civil and criminal judicial reforms, reform of professional legal training and education system, etc. In addition, the number of attorneys has doubled over the last decade or so, which has brought about serious aspects related to the basis for activities of attorneys, including the difficulties of legal apprentices in finding job opportunities, handling of attorney misconduct. However, now is the time for the JFBA to reinforce the basis for activities of attorneys and undertake improvements and reforms over the many issues to build a reliable and accessible judiciary, so that the rule of law prevails in all facets of the society.
The JFBA is committed to working towards improvements and reforms on the above mentioned issues in line with the following basic policies:
First, the JFBA will facilitate the creation of a reliable and accessible judiciary by undertaking civil judicial reforms.
Second, the JFBA will reinforce the basis for activities of attorneys to proactively address various challenges to protect human rights and achieve social justice as provided for under Article 1 of the Attorney Act.
Third, the JFBA will enhance its measures to prevent misconduct by attorneys and ensure compensation for victims, etc., in order to secure the self-governance of attorneys.
Fourth, the JFBA will strengthen and expand its scope of international activities of attorneys in Japan, participate actively in conferences of the UN and international bar organizations, and devote ourselves to preserving world peace and addressing human rights issues inside and outside of Japan.
By Kazuhiro Nakamoto, President of the JFBA