Symposium on
“Contextual Approach to Human Rights and Democracy”
-Dialog between Europe and Japan-
-In Cerebration for 17th Anniversary of Japanese status as an observer in the Council of Europe-

Date and Time:February 18(Monday),2013   10:00-17:00

Venue:Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France


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Opening session Honorary Chair: Mr. Jean-Paul COSTA President of the International Institute for human rights
Former President of European Court of human rights
Opening by Prof. ICHIHASHI Katsuya, Nagoya University
Remarks by Mr. HASEGAWA Susumu, Consul-General of Japan in Strasbourg
Mr. Jörg POLAKIEWICZ, Head of the Human Rights Policy an Development, Council of Europe
Introductory Speeches Moderator: Prof. Koji TONAMI, Waseda University
Perspectives for Convergence of the Concepts of Human Rights Protection in Europe and Japan: A View from their Historical Contexts Prof. Kaoru OBATA, Nagoya University
Reconciling universality of human rights, differing national cultures and democracy at local level – the lessons Japan might learn from the European experience. Mr. Judge Paul MAHONEY, European Court of Human Rights
Question and answer
1st session Moderator: Prof. Yasuzo KITAMURA, Chuo University
Le droit au respect de la dignité et le droit de la personnalité
dans la Constitution japonaise :
Qu´est ce que le noyau dur de la personnalité ?
Prof. Hiroko TATEISHI, Hosei University
The Possibility of Creating a Multi-Layered System for the Protection of Human Rights:
What can Asian Countries Learn from UK-European experiences under the European Convention on Human Rights?
Prof. Akiko EJIMA, Meiji University PDF
Question and answer
2nd session Moderator: Associate Prof. Isabelle Giraudou, Nagoya University
Critical Review of Recent Practice of the Supreme Court of Japan Associate Prof. Minori OKOCHI, Nagoya University
Critical Review of Recent Trend of Japanese Nationality Act Prof. Dai YOKOMIZO, Nagoya University
Worldwide Activities of the Venice Commission Dr. Schnutz Dürr. Venice commission
Question and answer

Date and Time:February 19(Tuesday), 2013   9:30-16:30

Venue:Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France


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3rd Session Moderator: Associate Prof. KIM Eonsuk, Nagoya University
The Aspects on the Articulation
between Legal Pluralism and Rule of
Law-Meta-theory on the Administrative Law
Prof. Katsuya ICHIHASHI, Nagoya University
Towards a non-conflictual legal pluralism Prof. Alexis VAHLAS, Strasbourg University
Question and answer
4th Session Moderator: Prof. Noriko OFUJI, Dokkyo University
The Quest for Harmony in Europe´s Multi-layered System of Fundamental Rights Protection Mr. Jörg POLAKIEWICZ, Head of the Human Rights Policy and Development, Council of Europe
Towards a Pluralistic Conception of Human Rights Protection:
Kadi, ECJ and the Never-ending´Conundrum of High and Low Standards´
Prof. Kaoru OBATA, Nagoya University
Open Discussion
Young researchers´ session 1 Moderator: Prof. Kaoru OBATA, Nagoya University
Violence Against Women under the Competence of Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women Ms. Sotheavy NUTH
The Evolution of the Competence of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in relation to Statelessness Mr. Aziz ISMATOV
Question and answer
Young researchers´ session 2 Moderator: Prof. Danièle Alexandre, Strasbourg University
Review Security Council Sanctions by National Court?
— Implications of Kadi case
Ms. FAN Xiaomei
Possibilities and Challenges of the Venice Commission´s Activity in non-Europe Mr. Toru TAKEUCHI
Question and answer


    On the matters relating to human rights and democracy, there are so many differences in the situations between Europe and Japan. Asia, or more exactly, East Asia has no (sub-) regional system for protection and /or promotion of human rights. Japan is a State Party to many of major Human Rights Conventions adopted by the United Nations, but has never accepted the machineries receiving individuals’ complaints.
    The Constitution of Japan was adopted in 1946 and entered into force in 1947. Its text and the main-stream interpretations followed the model of liberal-democracy common to the post-war West Europeans. Compared with Germany, for example, the place of the concept of human dignity is not so high, at least on the text. Predominant view is that the judicial review in light of the protection of fundamental rights in the Constitution should be exercised with due regard to the extent of effectiveness of democratic or parliamentary process. We Japanese have no national institution for human rights (NIHR). It means that no governmental mechanism other than the executive or the judiciary exists for protection and/or promotion of human rights.
    Europeans have access to one of the most effective regional .mechanisms: the European Court of Human Rights. Most of the cases before the Court relate to right to personal freedoms (Article 5) or right of access to the courts (Article 6). These rights do not so directly affect democratic process of each state as some others such as the right to freedom of opinion or expression.
    In sum, formal comparison in actual situations shows big gap between Japan and Europe. If we discuss on facial level, the main line of arguments would be parallel monologs. Substantial comparison is only accomplished in light of the actual contexts of each concept and institution.
    Japanese scholars have been much interested in and learned from European situations. But in contrast, no sufficient efforts have been made to secure better understanding of Japanese situations among Europeans. In this Symposium, we would like to introduce Japanese or Asian situations relating to human rights and democracy including their historical and social backgrounds. With correspondent presentations and discussions from the European side, this symposium is expected to be a starting point for more fruitful dialogs with much substance in the future.

Organized by

  • Nagoya University Graduate School of Law
  • Nagoya University Center for Asian Legal Exchange
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science
  • -Grant-in-Aid project “Toward a Conceptualization on Structure of Constitutionalization of European Regional Order through an Analysis of Implementation of the Human Rights Convention”
  • -Strategic Young Researcher Overseas Visits Program for Accelerating Brain Circulation “Aspire to becoming the international node for the study of legal assistance -International joint research for building the theoretical foundation-“
  • -International Training Program, “Training Program for Researchers Capable of Disseminating Knowledge on Laws Asian Countries and Legal Assistance Activities in Asia”
  • -Program for Leading Graduate School, “The Program for Cross-Border Legal Institution Design”
  • -Grants for Excellent Graduate Schools


  • Japanese Consulate in Strasbourg
  • Under the auspices of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjorn Jagland