about_us_eng of 法政国際教育協力研究センター

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1. About CALE

When the Cold War ended prior to the close of the last century, many countries in Asia started a new process of transition towards more democracy and market-oriented social system. They looked to Japan for guidance on how to establish the appropriate social and economic infrastructures and proceed with the necessary legal, judicial and political reforms. Most legal cooperation and legal assistance projects have mainly been initiated by national and international aid agencies. However, it is also believed increasingly that academic institutions and research centers should have an essential role to play in these activities.

Asia has then witnessed numerous cases of system transitions. However, research in the trends of legal and other transitions in the region has been comparatively weak. In contrast, judicial reforms in Central and Eastern European countries have not only done away the legacies of their socialist past, but also brought the countries into a new phase of legal and judicial harmonization with the European Union standards, enabling them to accede to the Union within a period of less than 15 years. For its part, CALE has been working closely with law universities, graduate schools and legal affairs offices in many Asian countries. It has put particular emphases on activities in Cambodia, Laos, Mongolia, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

Legal assistance, particularly transplantation of laws, if conducted without sufficiently broad and comprehensive knowledge about the national and local contexts of the recipients, may result in repeating the mistakes of the “law and development” movement of the past. In order to understand different issues related to the law and politics of the recipient countries, we have been working with the local universities, legal experts and national institutions to plan and organize specialized and academic symposiums, workshops and conferences. Participants in most of these events were not confined to Japanese and other local Asian scholars and practitioners. But CALE has also engaged scholars from other foreign universities and experts from international aid agencies, such as the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the United Nations offices, etc.

Contents of the symposiums, workshops and conferences engaging CALE are publicized in Japanese, English, and wherever possible in the language of the host country. Some materials are available on the internet and in hardcopies. Discussions in these forums are open and as comprehensive as we could manage to organize. Besides, not only are they mainly focusing on the local needs of the recipient countries with regard to the ongoing legal and judicial reforms but also aimed at promoting indepth theoretical research initiatives. In addition to some regular publications, CALE also issues occasional papers or reports prepared by scholars or practitioners on the latest development and problems of legal assistance or topics related to Asian law. These papers are available in Japanese and/or English, giving broader publicity to the ongoing concerns and activities of the Center.

In many of the recipient countries, legal education is far from being fully self-reliant and not significantly influential in the society. To assist in this situation, Nagoya University has launched short- and long-term programs for foreign students. It has been an integrated effort to help tackle the shortage of human resources in these countries. Most of the foreign students in these programs are university lecturers, public servants and legal professionals in their home countries. It is our conviction that these programs will serve an invaluable purpose if some of the students will in the future return to their countries and become key contributors to the cause of legal and judicial reforms back home. To further strengthen the legal education services of Nagoya University in the interests of these foreign students, CALE also invites visiting lecturers from overseas or other Japanese universities to incorporate some special seminars or lectures in the program.

Moreover, CALE also works with the local universities in the recipient countries to conduct field studies and research. Among the recent themes of these studies are “the relationship between traditional law and contemporary law” and the issue of “national legal reforms to meet the required standards for accession to the WTO”, etc. In the future, it is our hope that CALE will further develop its capacity to provide necessary services in coordinating multi-party legal assistance activities involving national and international institutions and become a reliable Japanese national center in promoting research in the field of legal assistance.