This book is a volume of papers on international law, collected in memory of Akira Kotera, who passed away in February 2014. He was a Professor at the Department of Advanced Social and International Studies, the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Prof. Kotera’s work consistently aimed to find practical answers to real societal problems. Such answers were derived based on his keen insights on the underlying nuances and foundations of the legal system in question. This was the defining characteristic of Prof. Kotera’s research on international law. He recognized and confronted the fact that international law is “full of loopholes” that could be “filled” by exploring new norms derived from existing legal rules and various principles and concepts that support those rules. Through his innovative and academically excelled arguments, he earned the respect of law practitioners who tackled the daily realities of cases that had no easily or universally applicable frameworks. By developing sound interpretative arguments, he expertly filled apparent gaps in the law.
This book is a collection of 30 papers that cover a variety of fields, including theories and concepts in international law, the relationships between international and domestic law, international organizations, human rights, State responsibility, law of the sea, space law, international economic law, international law on the use of force etc. The editors have compiled this collection of papers with the aim of rekindling the spirit of Prof. Akira Kotera. The papers emulate his awareness of legal gaps, his quest to bridge them, and his concern for fundamental principles and the establishment of systemic norms. Prof. Kotera’s approaches, which reflected both universality and individuality, were applied to this compilation, as a sign of our gratitude and respect for Prof. Kotera’s contributions to the field. By applying his approach to problem solving, we are sure that the papers herein will serve as good reference materials far into the future. This book presents readers with means of interpreting and applying legal norms to a variety of novel issues. Will current disputes be settled using existing norms or will new paradigms be fostered to address new issues? Through this book, readers will understand the true dynamism of international law.
(Written by NISHIMURA Yumi, Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences / 2020)