Education Project of Asian Law (Comprehensive)

  • SDG3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • SDG5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • SDG8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • SDG10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • SDG11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • SDG12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • SDG16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Haruo Hirano
Graduate Schools for Law and Politics
Basic recognition - The “Rule of Law” and responsible business activities of enterprises indispensable for sustainable and sound economic development.
The legal systems of Asian countries are diverse and have achieved their own development, but in reality, there are substantial gaps in the progress of development. The legal system of some countries has remained in the old and obsolete colonial state or dissociated from the realities of their society. In the first place, some countries have not embraced the "Rule of Law" and the authoritarian leaders in power enforce an arbitrary "Rule by Law". This "Rule by Law" is similar to, but completely different from the "Rule of Law". The “Rule by Law” is a breeding ground for human rights violations, disparities, corruption and inequality, and undermines social and economic sustainability. Moreover, it hinders legitimate and appropriate business activities of an enterprise. Having said that, investments by enterprises of an advanced country such as Japan is still important for the economic development of Asia, and establishment of the modern legal system as well as the rule of law is indispensable for promoting such investments.

On the other hand, while enterprises are responsible for protecting their legitimate rights by making full use of the law and increasing their competitiveness and profitability to meet the expectations of their investors, their activities are required to be ethical and mutually beneficial with the local community as one of its members. In addition to understanding and complying with local legislation, enterprises are required to do business with due consideration for the rule of law. Actually, in recent years, an increasing number of enterprises have emphasized so-called fair trade, such as not using raw materials produced by child labor even if it is lawful. On the part of investors, ESG investments are becoming popular, choosing enterprises that fulfill such higher corporate social responsibilities.

What we aim for
The purpose of this project is to develop human resources who can contribute to the "Rule of Law." With the business development of Japanese enterprises in Asia in mind, we will start by "understanding correctly" the essential business laws of Asian countries such as the legal systems in general, contract laws, company laws, labor laws, etc. Asian law professors as well as corporate lawyers and faculty members from the University of Tokyo will jointly explain the characteristics and differences of each country's laws and the interactions with the society behind them by using the method of comparison with Japanese law and society. Based on the knowledge and perception they have gained, students will be encouraged to find out for themselves the significance of the "Rule of Law" that is the basis for sustainable development in Asia, as well as the issues and risks in corporate business activities there. They will be further encouraged to gain a balanced perspective and legal sense which would enable them to contribute to the resolution of such issues and risks from their respective standpoints in the future.

Specific education content
In this project, lectures and seminars are held every year as shown in the course structure below.
In particular, "Asian Business Law Seminar" invites lecturers from Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and other countries to provide organized lectures on business laws in each country in English, as well as more advanced seminars open for working people. The "Intensive Lecture on East Asian Law" held in the summer covers as its annual topic civil laws, company laws as well as intellectual property laws which promote innovation by protecting corporate intellectual property rights and contribute to the development of society. The method of this lecture is intended to be a reciprocal exercise in which professors from China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan explain their own legal system and laws and then focus on distinctive issues for comparison, with faculty experts of Japanese law and students from the University of Tokyo.

One step further, developing countries in Asia are recognizing that the development of human resources with skills for drafting and proper enforcement of laws are indispensable for promoting the establishment of the "Rule of Law” and ultimately their sustainable and sound economic growth. We hold a series of specific seminars, in addition to introducing in the daily lectures to deal with Japan's "Assistance for Development of the Legal System" to raise awareness of law school students who will be legal practitioners by training.
Structure of Courses
International Seminar, January 2020

Research collaborators

  • Australian National University
  • National University of Singapore
  • University of Indonesia
  • Chulalongkorn University, Thailand, and others
Access Map
Kashiwa Campus
Hongo Campus
Komaba Campus