Professor Toshiya UEKI

Greeting from the President

Thank you very much for accessing the website of the Japanese Society of International Law (JSIL). This website provides brief information on our Society to JSIL members and non-members interested in the JSIL and its activities.

Founded in 1897, The JSIL is the oldest academic society in Japan in the field of legal studies and marked its 125th anniversary in 2022. It is also one of the oldest national societies in international law: the JSIL’s establishment preceded the American Society of International Law (ASIL) in 1906 by almost a decade. Publication  of the Kokusaiho Zassi (Journal of International Law), our academic journal, was launched in 1902 (the name was changed to Kokusaiho Gaiko Zassi(Journal of International Law and Diplomacy in 1912). It was the only journal of international law in Asia at the time, and on an international level, it boasts a history as a national journal specialized in international law following France (1874) and Belgium (1889).

The JSIL was established in 1897 to realize its three objectives: research on international law, spreading knowledge internationally, and research on treaty revision. The 125-year history of JSIL overlaps with the emergence and development of modern Japan. After Japan joined the ranks of the major world powers, the JSIL continued to face matters such as World War I, withdrawal from the League of Nations, and World War II. The JSIL, which covers the law regulating international relations as its research object, has overcome such historical difficulties and developed thanks to the hard works and every effort of our predecessors at the JSIL.

The current global situation and the international issues surrounding Japan give no grounds for optimism. However, such current situations have made us realize the significant roles of international law in international society, and the increasing and urgent necessity to research such roles from theoretical and empirical aspects. Responding to these demands, the JSIL will keep exploring the significance of international law, by examining the ideals of the international society and the roles played by the law therein.

The JSIL membership is open for researchers specializing in the following fields: public international law, private international law, and international politics/diplomatic history. Members include researchers affiliated with universities and research institutions, officials of the Government of Japan, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice, and practitioners such as attorneys, graduate students, and others. The JSIL comprises about 900 members and is one of the largest national academic associations on international law.

The JSIL has focused on the international research collaboration with the other international law academic associations based in other countries. In collaboration with the ASIL (American Society of International Law), CCIL (Canadian Council on International Law), and the ANZSIL (Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law), we have co-organized the International Four Societies Conferences. The Conference is hosted on a rotational basis by each association every two years, and we have published books collecting the research papers presented in these conferences. The Seventh International Four Societies Conference was held in June 2018 in Tokyo. The 2020 Conference in the US was postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but took place online in August 2022. The JSIL also renewed the memorandum of understanding for cooperation with the Korean Society of International Law, and exchanges are being continued.

Furthermore, we have launched the research paper competition named for the Shigeru Oda Award, established based on a donation by Professor Shigeru Oda, who had been served as a judge on the International Court of Justice for 27 years (three terms). This competition aims to encourage and develop young researchers in public international law, private international law, and international politics/diplomatic history, and awards the selected papers submitted by undergraduate or graduate students. Also, we have invited the world-leading international lawyers as the guest lecturers of “the Honourable Shigeru Oda Commemorative Lectures.” This lecture series takes place at our research conference every two years, where the distinguished guest-speaker and Japanese members deliver lectures and have discussions in English.

In addition, our activities cover divergent fields. These include providing services for research and education, such as the creation of bibliographies in related fields of expertise, social cooperation activities through cooperation projects with the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, disseminating explanations on current topics concerning related fields of expertise, and holding the “Asia Cup” Moot-court Competition jointly sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Detailed information on these activities is available in the JSIL newsletter, the Journal of International Law and Diplomacy, and this website.

Reaffirming its social and international responsibility as an academic association with its long history and tradition, the JSIL will promote the study of public international law, private international law, and international politics/diplomatic history, and increase our effort to send our academic achievement into the world. I would like to kindly request that members and non-members alike send their candid views and criticisms to the JSIL whenever and in whatever form they would like.

September 2022

Toshiya UEKI

President, Japanese Society of International Law