JFBA Brief Note - Visit to India and Thailand to Research Legal Systems
In order to research the judicial systems of both India and Thailand, we visited related organizations in each country from February 24 to March 1, 2013, in a research tour jointly conducted by the Ministry of Justice, Japan and the JFBA. The purpose of this visit was to research the legal systems in those countries and to investigate the possibility of establishing a system for registered foreign lawyers in such countries. The reasons behind our choosing to focus on India and Thailand were that, in the case of India, there has been a growing need for support from Japanese lawyers in line with the increase in the number of Japanese corporations expanding into the Indian market, while for Thailand, the needs for Japanese lawyers have been on the rise due to the already large existing number of Japanese corporations and Japanese citizens living there; the number of which is substantially higher than that in other South East Asian countries. Considering these factors, we felt a strong necessity for fully grasping the overall system facing lawyers in these two countries and for reviewing the possibility of setting up a registered foreign lawyer system there.
In India, we visited a number of Japanese lawyers, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India (comprised of Japanese corporations doing business in India), the Bar Council of Delhi, the Ministry of Law and Justice, and the Indian Chamber of Commerce. We actively exchanged opinions regarding the Indian legal system, on which we were given a lecture, and the registered foreign lawyer system in Japan, which we were fortunate enough to be able to introduce. Since each organization had somewhat different interests in such topics, there arose some differences in opinions, however, we managed to learn a great deal on the actual status on the ground in India, which, I’m sure, will prove very useful for from this time forward. In addition, the experience of learning directly regarding how Japanese lawyers and the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry in India have been conducting work in India has given us a renewed perspective and drive in wishing to provide them with as much support as possible.
In Thailand, we also visited several Japanese lawyers, as well as the Bangkok office of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Mitsubishi Corporation Thai Office, the Lawyers Council of Thailand, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Justice. We had a very fruitful discussion regarding the legal system in Thailand and the registered foreign lawyers system in Japan. Since Japanese corporations have entered into business in Thailand at a very early stage, I was left with the impression that a strong and tight-knit Japanese community network has already been established there. With such a network and foundation in place, I strongly felt that when we proceed to launch legal services conducted by Japanese lawyers overseas, we should definitely take such factor into account.
Here, I would like to note that this visit marked the first occasion in which the Ministry of Justice in Japan and the JFBA had jointly conducted an overseas research visit. It is a fact that the Ministry of Justice and the JFBA have to contest each other’s opinions fully through thorough discussions when necessary, but the visit left a deep impression on me that when the Ministry of Justice and the JFBA have the same purpose, it is highly effective and beneficial (for both sides) to collaborate and conduct such joint projects. In addition, I should not forget to mention the kind support provided to us by the Embassy of Japan in Thailand.
(by Yuji ONUKI, Deputy Secretary General of the JFBA)