Welcome to the Japan Bar Association website. Please click on the appropriate index item to get more information about membership, activities and services of the Association. We would be delighted to receive your comments on how we can improve this website.
The Japan Bar Association was established in October 1948, three years after the end of the Second World War. The first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Mr. Tadahiko Mibuchi, took initiative in organising the original body of the association, and Attorney General, Mr. Yosio Suzuki, Prosecutor General, Mr. Seita Fukui, and the President of The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (a voluntary body of many local bar associations), Mr. Shinkichi Unno, actively helped Mr. Mibuchi in the organisation. Leading academics, Dr. Kotaro Tanaka, Dr. Sakae Wagatsuma, and Dr. Hajime Kaneko, were invited to join in the organisation. These academics were Professors of the University of Tokyo and were nationally well-known. Dr. Tanaka later became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan and the Justice of the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
On 20 March 1952, the Charter of the Japan Bar Association was promulgated, and Mr. Chuzaburo Arima was elected to the first Chairperson of the Association. Following this establishment process, 8 branches were established in Fukuoka (Kyushu) and Sapporo (Hokkaido) in the same year; Nagoya (Chubu), Hiroshima (Chugoku), and Takamatsu (Shikoku) in 1953; Sendai (Tohoku) and Tokyo (Kanto) in 1954; Kinki [Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe] in 1956.
On 2 December 1958, Mr. Shunzo Kobayashi was elected to the second Chairperson of the Association. Mr. Kobayashi proposed to start the publication of “The Rule of Law”, periodical of the Association. Many celebrated Justices and Academics were invited by the Association. Professor Cavers and Professor Gluck at Harvard Law School, and Professor A.L. Goodhart at Oxford, were some examples.
On 28th November 1960, Mr. Hachiro Fujita was elected to the third Chairperson of the Association. He made a plan of “legal appointment system of judges on the basis of practice experience as attorneys” in cooperation with the “World Peace Through Law”, whose international conference was held on 17 September 1961 in Asia [Tokyo?].
On 27th November 1963, Mr. Yuiichiro Tanimura was elected to the fourth Chairperson of the Association. Professor and Doctor Ryuichi Hirano, once the President of the University of Tokyo, together with many prominent lawyers of Japan, investigated “legal consciousness of the people” and established a “Commisson for the Research of Legal Systems”. The Association also involved in the discussion of “the Matter of Universities Autonomy” and in the research of “Historical Development of Japanese Legal Systems”. In the meantime, Baron H.W. Shawcross from the United Kingdom and G Muller Chief Justice of Constitutional Court in Germany visited the Association and gave lectures.
In 1969, Mr. Daijiro Kikkawa was elected to the fifth Chairperson of the Association. Professor N.L. Nathanson, North-Western University, visited the Association and gave a lecture on quasi-judicial bodies. The Association discussed the matter of professional ethics for judges and attorneys in 1972.
On 19 November 1973, the Association was reorganised as “The Chartered Japan Bar Associaton”
On 21 April 1979, Mr. Ekizo Fujibayashi, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Japan, was elected to the 6th Chairperson of the Association. Mr. Fujibayashi emphasized the importance of international exchanges and cooperation. On 8 February 1981, Warren E. Burger was invited to the Association and gave a lecture on legal profession.
In 1980 through 1994, the Association contributed for legislative and judicial reforms in various areas of law and practice: In 1980, Professor Ichiro Kato (once the President of the University of Tokyo), Professor Akio Takeuchi, and Professor Koji Shindo, together with many professional lawyers, worked on “consumer protection”. In 1981, Professor Kouya Matsuo, Mr. Yosio Suzuki (Attorney General), Professor Masahito Inoue, together with many professional lawyers, worked on “criminal trial”. More recently, the Association held a conference to discuss a few forms of “jury system”, which eventually led to the introduction of a new criminal trial system called “Saibanin System”. This is a system of criminal trial in which 3 professional judges, together with 6 lay judges (who are elected like jurors in the United States of America), adjudicate serious criminal cases.
On 25 March 1993, the Associated celebrated its 40th anniversary and reviewed its past activities. Major participants were Mr. Tsuneo Ohuchi and Mr. Seiichi Kishi, former Justices of the Supreme Court, Mr. Ryozo Katsuo, Mr. Norimasa Yasaki, Mr. Teruo Takemura, Mr. Hifumi Tsujinaka, Mr. Yorihiro Naito, Mr. Hideo Hara, Chairperson Ekizo Fujibayashi, Professor Akira Mikazuki, Mr. Hideo Suzuki, Mr. Keigo Ohira, Mr. Tomihiro Fujii, and Professor Kinko Yoshida.
On 16 May 1994, Mr. Tsuneo Ohuchi, former Justice of the Supreme Court, was elected to the 7th Chairperson of the Association.
In the period between 1994 and 2007, the Association contributed to a large scale judicial reform: Special committees were formed to discuss the matters of “law school education”, “ADR”, and several others. Judge Tohji Tao interviewed Professor Akira Mikazuki, a former Minister of Justice, to hear many problems of the judicial reform. In April 2002, the special issue of “Rule of Law” (No. 125) was published to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Association. In 2005, a permanent study group was formed to study recent leading civil court decisions.
In May 2007, Mr. Hideo Chikusa, former Justice of the Supreme Court, was elected to the 8th Chairperson of the Association.
In June 2015, Mr. Seishi Kanetsuki, former Justice of the Supreme Court, was elected to the 9th Chairperson of the Association.
The Japan Bar Association has one Chairperson, 4 Vice-Chairpersons, not more than 30 governers, and 2 auditors. There are also 8 councillors and advisors. The number of members is about 1750 as of 1 April 2013. All members belong to one of 8 Branches mentioned in the colum of “History”. The officers of the Association are listed in the column of “Organization” in the Japanese version of this Home Page.
The Charter of the Japan Bar Association, article 4 provides that “the Association shall be involved in the following activities: (1) research and investigation of judiciary, legal profession, and legal studies and eduction, (2) publications of periodicals and other documents, (3) study conferences, lectures, and other meetings, (4) exchanges with foreign legal professions and academics, and (5) other matters for the promotion of the above purposes.
Details of the Association’s activities are explained in the Japanese version of this Home Page. Firstly, the Association publicised its official opinions of many legislations as activities in the category (1). For instance, the Association publicised its opinion on legal profession and legal ethics (1972, 1977, 1978), legal education (2006), contempt of courts (1951), class action (1975), preliminary injunctions (1984 through 1986), jury system (2006) nationality and immigration (1975 and 1983), Civil Code and Tenancy Act (1982, 1986 and 1989), family law (1976, 1979, 1986 and 1988), Companies Act and Commercial Law (1979, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987).
In relation to the activities in the category (2), the Associaton has published “Rule of Law”, 4 issues a year, and “Mado (Window)” 2 issues a year. The Association also published a few books on specific topics. Details of these publications are explained in the Japanese version of this Home Page.
In relation to the activities in the category (3), the Japan Bar Association invited American and British Ambassadors to give speech and held a public lecture by Professor A. von Mehren, Harvard Law School.
In connection with the activities in the category (4), Justices of the Supreme Court and many leading professors visited the Japan Bar Association from many countries: The United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Taiwan, Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, The Sudan, etc. Members of the Japan Bar Association visited many countries including the United States of America, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, China, Egypt, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Denmark, etc.
In connection with the activities in the category (5), the Japan Bar Association sent delegates to annual meetings of “World Peace Through Law”, International Bar Association, and Lawasia, and occasionally to other international conferences of the United Nations.
The Charter of the Japan Bar Associaton, article 34, provides for membership. As of 1 April 2008, there are about 2000 members. Paragraph 2 provides for “associate-members” who are foreign legal professionals or academic lawyers. They can become members with approval of the Board of Directors if the applicants wish to support activities of the Association.
Note: Please do not use telephone call to communicate with the Association. Do write to the following address
The Japan Bar Association
No.1-1-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0013, Japan