Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA) Prospectus
November 9, 2005
(International commercial) arbitrations are being conducted in New York and London with a frequency and scope commensurate with the extent of business being conducted in those cities, but the same is not true in Japan. Moreover, if arbitrations that should be taking place in Japan are instead conducted in Hong Kong or Singapore, then business will accordingly leave Japan. Thus, a legal infrastructure to facilitate arbitration needs to be created in Japan (an opinion found in tallied results from a survey on arbitration law conducted by the Cabinet Secretariat’s Office to Prepare for and Promote Judicial Reform in November 2001).
Arbitration and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) for flexible dispute resolution has been well received in different countries, and plans are to use arbitration in a wide range of areas, such as labor, construction, housing, pollution, eminent domain, and telecommunications.
In addition, a number of arbitration and dispute resolution organizations have been active in Japan thanks to the efforts of relevant parties such as the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association, the Japan Shipping Exchange, and the arbitration centers of each bar association. Moreover, the Arbitration Act in accordance with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration came into effect. Among the laws and ordinances related to arbitration and dispute resolution that were drafted, the Act to Promote the Use of Alternative Methods of Dispute Resolution (the “Act to Promote ADR”) came into effect in April 2007.
Nevertheless, the legal infrastructure for arbitration and dispute resolution is not complete with the creation of organizations and the drafting of laws and ordinances. Rather, exceptional arbitrators and individuals overseeing ADR are essential to implementing arbitration and dispute resolution.
We are individuals who provide arbitration and dispute resolution. We have described our view on the enactment of the Arbitration Act and the “Act to Promote ADR,” and we have been involved in running arbitration and dispute resolution organizations. In that process, we have become acutely aware of the need for exceptional arbitrators and individuals overseeing ADR. Our duty is to systematically hone the skills of arbitrators and individuals overseeing ADR, to conduct research, and to create opportunities for those practitioners to share their knowledge and experience.
Thus, we founded the Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA) on October 16, 2003 to encourage arbitration and dispute resolution and to educate the public about those processes. We have done so by fostering and training arbitrators, mediators, and other personnel in arbitration and dispute resolution, by conducting research on law and its practice, by devising better methods of ADR, and by promoting collaboration and cooperation among practitioners, researchers, and other people interested in arbitration or ADR. The JAA is steadily making progress, though our current efforts are directed at founding the Japan Arbitration Association to lay a firmer foundation for those activities.