ANZCCJ members were invited to join the Roppongi Bar Association, a network of legal professionals in Tokyo, for a panel discussion on Japan’s hopes to become a leader in international arbitration and mediation. The discussion was focused on two recent articles (“Japan`s New Bid to Compete in Arbitration“ and “Thoughts on Necessary Change in Japan“). Panel members included: Yoshimasa Furuta of Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, Yoshihiro Takatori of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliff, Tony Andriotis of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, and Michael Mroczek of Okuno & Partners.
Panel members discussed how the Japanese government in conjunction with top lawyers in Japan were addressing the issue of the lack of mediation and arbitration between companies and organisations in Japan. At present, unless you are a Japanese qualifiedlawyer you cannot practice mediation and arbitration in Japan. Panel members agreed that there was a necessity for laws in Japan to change and there is work underway with the Ministry of Justice to address the issue.
The lack of mediation and arbitration facilities in Japan was also brought up as a reason for why Japan was not frequently used as a hub arbitration. To address this, panel members noted that dispute resolution centres have been opened in Osaka, Tokyo, and plans are underway for an international dispute resolution centre to open in Japan, and panellists expected this to be in Tokyo, however the details are still being finalised. The issue now is how to grow the pool of arbitrators to fill these facilities, including through targeted education in arbitration.