The School of Law was originally established as a department within the School of Law and Economics in 1948 soon after the end of the Second World War. It acquired its present status as an independent school within a National University in 1950, following the law departments at the National Universities in Tokyo, Kyoto, Tohoku, and Kyushu.
Being a rather young institution it had advantages in terms of facing the challenges posed by contemporary developments.
In 1983, the school, facing modernization of the traditional system of study, introduced a new curriculum, which was consolidated in the Department of Law, of Civil Law, Commercial Law, Public Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, and Law-Related Studies and, in the Department Political Science, of Public Administration, Political Theory, Political History and International Politics.
In 1997, the two departments, the Department of Law and the Department of Political Science, were integrated into one; the Department of Law and Political Science with 8 divisions, including newly established divisions such as public policy and international relations. This departmental reorganization aimed at modernizing the subjects of instruction, improving graduate tuition, and promoting systematic and cooperative research and education.
The school is now among the most prominent of its kind in Japan with an excellent reputation for advanced research.
Graduate School initiative
From April 1999, the School of Law adopted further curricular changes, expanding the graduate program as a whole, and placing new emphasis on graduate studies with the school.
This reform was implemented as a response to the societal need, identified by Monbukagakusho , the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Government of Japan (MEXT), for specialist training and skills. In practical terms, the School expanded its graduate intake and added further education options in the disciplines of law and politics.
These new options were also designed to address the needs of international students from countries in Asia with rapidly developing legal systems. Courses were established to help all graduate students in the praxis of research and writing, and a program of guest lectures conducted by members of the Bar and by corporate staff was also set-up.
The next reform, which has profoundly affected all those involved in the teaching and study of law, was the reorganization of legal education in accord with the ongoing restructuring of Japan’s judicial system. The aim of this national effort is to stimulate a new consciousness of law in the nation’s structure.
Achieving this objective will require a larger number of judges and practicing lawyers, and faculties of law will be relied upon more heavily in their training than has been the case in the past. Together with a number of other law faculties in Japan, in April 2004, the Graduate School of Law in Nagoya University established the ‘Nagoya University Law School’ (NULS).
It is a post-graduate vocational program of legal education and training, leading to a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, which will be a basic requirement for taking the new National Bar Examination. As a key university in the Chubu area of Japan, Nagoya University Law School provides the program aimings at nurturing future legal professionals who possess a wide international awareness and perspective to support a free coexistent society.
The new program admits not only law graduates but students from a wide range of academic and social backgrounds. It basically requires three years of instruction. The existing various academic programs of the Graduate School have been adjusted to this change accordingly.
Japanese Law and Language initiative
In 2006, the Law Faculty launched an initiative on Legal education through Japanese-taught classes under the Personnel Development Program Contributing to Asian Legal Assistance in the LL.M. (Comparative Law) program.
This Faculty established in 1999 a special overseas student master’s program (now the Comparative Law Graduate Program in Law and Political Science) with the aim of educating the leaders in Asia’s legal assistance activities in countries in Asia that are undergoing systemic transformation or development. This is now running on an institutional basis in the Faculty. Up to now, the language of instruction and research guidance in the course was English. However, this has been amended from this year and now there are two class streams on offer; the ‘legal education through English classes’ and the ‘legal education through Japanese classes,’ both being part of the ‘Personnel Development Program Contributing to Asian Legal Assistance.’
The program as taught through English until now continues as the ‘Legal Education through English classes.’ However, the ‘Legal Education through Japanese classes’ gives the graduates of the Japanese Legal Education and Research Centers established overseas a chance to be educated at our Faculty as one dimension of the ‘Long-term education of legal specialists proficient in Japanese’ project that has recently initiated by the Faculty. The aim is to educate, in a continuous and systematic manner, specialists who can understand Japanese law in Japanese. In accordance with this aim, we are recruiting students for the ‘Legal Education through Japanese classes’ for this years International Law and Politics course and the selection process has now been set up. In this selection process, the top 2 overseas students shall be recommended to the Ministry of Education and Science by the Faculty as candidates for the Japanese Government Scholarships.
The ‘Long-term education of legal specialists proficient in Japanese’ project involves the establishment of Nagoya University Japanese Legal Education and Research Centers in the overseas universities aligned with us. In these centers, up to 20 students are selected from these universities and are taught Japanese with the goal in mind of reaching Level 1 or 2 in the Japanese Proficiency Test by the time they graduate. Also, when they have advanced in Japanese they are then educated in Japanese law through Japanese. One of these centers was established in Tashkent State Institute of Law in Uzbekistan in 2005 and one was established in the National University of Mongolia School of Law in September 2006.
Method of recruitment, target countries
In keeping with the goals set out in the establishment of the ‘Legal Education through Japanese classes,’ the targeted students will be those who have completed over 3 years study at one of the Nagoya University Japanese Legal Education and Research Centers which have been established for the development of legal specialists in the countries with exchange agreements with Nagoya University or our Faculty, and who have complete their university education in law and politics.
Conditions for graduating and obtaining a degree
The students enrolled in the International Law and Politics course must fulfill all the course requirements to acquire a degree of Master of Laws (Comparative Law). Also, the students enrolled in the Doctorate must fulfill all course requirements in order to obtain a degree of Doctor of Laws (Comparative Law).
The overseas students who are taking their instruction on this course through English shall have their lectures and thesis writing and guidance conducted through English. The overseas students in the ‘Legal Education through Japanese’ classes shall have their education conducted through Japanese. However, even for those who take the legal education through Japanese classes, the international networks inherent in their legal activities in their own country after they return will be important for them and consequently they are required to be skilled in reading and communicating in English as it is the language of international exchange.
After enrolling in our Graduate School, the students will receive classes through Japanese and will write a master’s thesis under the guidance of their supervisors. Consequently, an adequate level of Japanese and the ability to complete a master’s thesis about a particular research topic within 2 years is required. In regard to this aim, it is necessary in the recruitment process for the candidate to indicate a concrete research topic that they have in mind for writing their thesis. This concrete research topic for the master’s thesis should be indicated in the ‘Research Plan’ section of the application form. Candidates should write about the challenges of this topic, their own awareness of the topic, the details of the topic, and the method to be used for progressing with the research.
For specifying research topics, please connect to the page of the Faculty Staff List on the website of the Nagoya University Graduate School of Law: http://www.nomolog.nagoya-u.ac.jp/