Japan’s “Judicial Diplomacy” Bears Fruit, Laos Sanctions Civil Code


Laos is now the third country in Southeast Asia to pass civil code with Japanese support, after Vietnam and Cambodia. On May 27, Laos endorsed in the civil code under Japan’s judicial diplomacy.

Japan has been engaged in the topic of civil codes since long time. This has assisted in Japan bagging a chair in the conference of senior legal officials from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) for the first time.

The ASLOM or ASEAN Senior Law Officials Meeting is supposed to discuss about the cybersecurity and other legal issues in relation to cross-border situations.

Japan has continued with its quarter -century old “judicial diplomacy” which is now clearly starting to bear fruit.

In 1994, Vietnam was the first nation to be helped by Japan in legal and civil issues. Since then Japan has been consistently providing support to Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia. The support includes aiding in drafting of legislative bills and educating the countries’ judicial experts.

Noriko Shibata, the head of International Affairs Division at the Ministry of Justice said that the securing a position at the conference depicts “the trust Japan has gained through down to Earth support programs and the creation of human networks.”

Japan has been assisting the countries regarding the laws and human rights in Southeast Asian region, assuring their firm implementation. Under Japan’s judicial diplomacy tactic, it hopes to make its international standing visible and opulent, along with making key investments by contributing to the country’s economic development.

In 2018 International Division of Japan’s Justice Ministry was established to lead the country’s judicial diplomacy agenda. Japan has always been offering legal support on nations’ request, but this separate division was established to allow it offer more active support with visible presence.

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