Message from the CALE Director

obata.JPGTowards the new horizon in legal and political studies.
 I was appointed the new Director of the Center starting from April 2014.
 I have been engaging in the legal assistance and education activities of Nagoya University Graduate School of Law for Asian countries, mainly through my duties to provide “education to international students”, and have developed my interests toward these Asian countries. In the course of supervising students from Asian countries, the academic supervisors are required to overcome particular difficulties such as students’ limited educational background in their home countries and language barriers. But at the same time, in view of the position of Asia in today’s world and its deepening ties with Japan, educating young people from Asia is very worthwhile, and I have given it the best of my efforts.
 From this teaching experience, I become increasingly aware of the problematic nature of our own research backgrounds as educators trained within the academic world of Japan. In Japan, the study of law and political science has been cultivated in the context of an ongoing dialogue with Western legal traditions. Yet the more I learn about the hybrid legal situations of Asian nations – with their mixed layers of indigenous law, laws from previous regimes, and influences from Western European law at the post-Cold War period – the more I find that our perception up to now of Western societies has been one-sided, and an understanding of Japanese law purely in that context is inadequate. I finally come to recognize the importance of this awareness that even international law, which I am majored in, is also functioning in interaction with those hybrid structures. I believe that these new findings in comparative legal and political studies emerging from our academic exchange with other Asian countries must be
utilized in our mission to provide education to the future generations in Japan and Asia.
 Providing legal education and training opportunities are main areas of CALE’s legal assistance activities. These activities are also closely linked to research as I already mentioned above. We may rather say that those CALE’s experiences have been the wellspring of a conspicuous new sphere for Japanese legal and political studies in the current context of Japanese academia which apparently stays stagnant in the post-Cold War period. We are now at the stage where, in order to open up new research horizons, we should more consciously embrace the consolidation, anchoring and deepening of that long experience. We have already begun acting toward that end, slowly moving through the difficulties and feeling the joy of doing so. I invite the readers of this pamphlet who are interested in the work of CALE to join with us in this intellectual struggle. I am also one who looks forward to the growth that will come from meeting the challenge of this great work.

Director of CALE
Professor, Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University