Human Rights Protection Committee
In the present day society problems of human rights infringements arise in many ways; human rights are infringed, for instance, in prisons, detention centers, mental hospitals, and other institutions, as well as by the news media. If a human rights claim is filed by a victim of such infringements asking for relief, the human rights protection committee conducts an investigation on relevant facts, and if necessary, admonishes or warns the victimizer or accuses him/her before the investigative authority. Thus, the committee is engaged in activities aimed at the fundamental solution of such infringements.
Environmental Preservation Committee
This committee is engaged in a diverse range of activities aimed at protecting our right to life in a good living environment and at permitting the present generation to enjoy, and hand down to future generations, a good natural environment. One of those activities is Emergency Counseling on Environmental and Pollution Issues, a service offered jointly by the three Tokyo-based Bar Associations. The committee also conducts investigations and makes recommendations relating to the preservation of biodiversity, transportation systems with less environmental burden, environmental destruction by public works, relationships between food and the environment, environmental management, and the system of environmental dispute resolution.
Consumer Affairs Committee
With the changing times there have arisen consumer-related problems of diverse forms such as defective homes, defective products, financial service-related problems involving securities, deposits, insurance, and futures trading, medical malpractice, and damage caused by Internet transactions. To prevent damage caused to consumers and relieving them from such damages, the committee investigates and examines these problems in a broad manner and actively provides telephone counseling through "emergency counseling for damage caused by financial products," "emergency counseling for damage caused by expensive medicare beauty" and "emergency counseling for medical malpractice or drug-induced diseases." The also committee promotes counseling interviews and subsequent relief activities.
Criminal Defense Committee
This committee is engaged in wide-ranging activities aimed at protecting the rights of those arrested or prosecuted and realizing appropriate criminal justice. One of those activities is the "attorney-on-duty service" whereby an attorney on duty is dispatched at any time upon a call from an individual arrested. The committee also discusses various problems related to criminal proceedings legislation and communicates opinions.
Attorney Service Center
The center seeks to have attorneys fully used by all people under any kind of circumstances on any sort of legal issues and thereby prove the significance of their existence. For such a purpose the center reviews how attorneys' services as a whole should be, and performs planning and other activities in order for attorney services to be used in broader areas.
Legal Counseling Center Operation Committee
This committee is engaged in planning and management of legal counseling centers established by bar associations to ensure at all times that all people can have access to attorneys and assuredly use their service to their greater satisfaction. Shinjuku Legal Counseling Center and Department Legal Counseling Center, that are solely operated by NIBEN, now each operate a website called Attorney Apo where each attorney in charge introduces himself/herself and explains about his/her field of expertise. This site is much appreciated by users. The committee also provides counseling on special issues of diverse sorts.
Gender Equality Committee
This committee is engaged in activities aimed at eliminating gender bias (discrimination against women) currently present at home or the workplace and thereby realizing a society where gender equality shall prevail. The result of the committee's study of gender bias in the area of justice was published as a book. The book also serves to promote gender equality at the committee. The committee also provides training to staff in charge of "counseling on women's rights" in connection with sexual harassment and domestic violence.
Children's Rights Committee
This committee is actively engaged in daily activities aimed at rescuing children from diverse problems including bullying, corporal punishment, abuse, school refusal, and delinquency and thereby protecting their human rights. Since 1990, for instance, the committee has been providing "counseling on children's troubles" dealing each year with about 200 cases. The committee also carries out survey, research and publicity activities relating to the environment and the legal system surrounding children.
The principal missions of our International Committee are (i) advancing research on international legal issues, (ii) promoting and facilitating interaction with the international legal community including through formal friendships with numerous bar associations overseas, and (iii) participating in the evaluation of the qualifications of applicants for registration as foreign lawyers in Japan (gaikokuho jimu bengoshi).
Our International Committee seeks to accomplish its principal missions through a wide range of activities, including the followings:
(a) acting as the primary point of contact for communications with the international legal community including with fellow bar association counterparts overseas; (b) organizing topical seminars on a variety of international legal issues;
(c) participating in the collaborative assessment of applicants for registration as foreign lawyers in Japan;
(d) supporting initiatives to increase and enhance opportunities for inbound investment into Japan and outbound investment by Japanese companies;
(e) providing multi-lingual legal consultation services for foreigners at the Immigration Bureau; and
(f) publishing and distributing pertinent information to bar association members as well as to the general public regarding the law and the legal profession.
As a part of the International Committee's mission to promote and facilitate interaction with the international legal community, we have represented the Daini Tokyo Bar Association in entering into friendship agreements with the following fellow local bar associations overseas: the Seoul Bar Association, the Taipei Bar Association, The Law Society of Singapore, the Ordre des Avocats de Paris, the Ordre des Avocats au Barreau de Toulouse, The Bar Ho Chi Minh City, the Association of Mongolian Advocates and the Shenzhen Lawyers Association. In order to further nurture these friendships, our International Committee has successfully organized annual reciprocal visits with the Seoul Bar Association and the Taipei Bar Association respectively to engage in face-to-face meetings and exchange opinions and expertise in person with the leaders of these bar associations.
Another joint initiative of the Daini Tokyo Bar Association and the Taipei Bar Association that is being led by our International Committee is the implementation of the "Cooperative Foreign Lawyer Referral Project" in 2018, under which the two bar associations exchange lists of lawyers for referral who are suitable candidates for particular categories of legal matters that may arise in their respective jurisdictions.
In addition to fostering friendships with fellow local bar associations overseas, our International Committee also strongly encourages and supports individual members of the Daini Tokyo Bar Association (including by providing financial support) to travel to and attend, whether as speakers or delegates, international legal conferences held all over the world, including the annual conferences hosted by the International Bar Association (IBA), LAWASIA , the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) and the American Bar Association (ABA). Our International Committee is also actively involved in providing on-the-ground organizational support when such international conferences are held in Tokyo.
In the pursuit of our mission to advance research on international legal issues, every year our International Committee, together with our contemporaries who represent two other bar associations in Tokyo, organizes an "International Seminar" at which preeminent legal practitioners from around the world are invited to lecture on cutting-edge legal issues such as the international protection of personal information (in 2015) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) (in 2016) in an open forum that allows for lively and thought-provoking discussions among members of all three Tokyo bar associations including our Daini Tokyo Bar Association. Our International Committee also provides our Daini Tokyo Bar Association members as well as the general public with a diverse range of opportunities to become more familiar with various international legal practices including, for example, by arranging open seminars in collaboration with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) on cross-border investment or by implementing training sessions on various immigration procedures imposed by the Immigration Bureau.
Lastly, as a final example of the strong commitment of our International Committee to the paramount goal of our principal missions, which is ensure that all our lawyers approach the law and the legal profession with an international mindset, we have represented the Daini Tokyo Bar Association in its conclusion of mutual cooperative agreements with the University of California, Hastings College of the Law (located in San Francisco) and the Renmin University of China Law School (located in Beijing). Under these agreements, the Daini Tokyo Bar Association provides our members with the opportunity to study at prestigious foreign law school and reciprocally takes care of the exchange students who are sent by these law schools to study in Japan.
ADR Center Operation Committee
This committee is dedicated to the operation of the ADR (alternative dispute resolution) Center which NIBEN established in March 1990 ahead of other bar associations countrywide. The arrangements made by the center for arbitration or composition get an attorney to be involved in talks toward dispute resolution and therefore serve for reaching more expeditious, flexible resolutions, rather than through court procedures, satisfactory to both parties.
Crime Victim Support Committee
Since its establishment in March 2000 this committee has had principally its younger members actively engaged in various activities including free telephone counseling offered to crime victims, taking up cases, planning and conducting training, examining cases in residential training, and visiting facilities. Although the legal status of crime victims is improving, they still have difficulty in appropriately understanding relevant systems for protecting their rights. Now that the lay judge system started in May 2009, attorneys have a greater role in supporting crime victims and consequently this committee is expected to play an increasingly important role.
Committee for Housing Dispute Settlement Agency
This committee plans operation regulations, communicates and coordinates with Housing Dispute Settlement Support Center for the smooth operation of the housing dispute settlement agency that is responsible for resolving housing disputes covered by the Housing Quality Assurance Act and the Act on Assurance of Performance of Specified Housing Defect Warranty.
Legal Education Dissemination and Promotion Committee
"Legal education" is intended to have non-legal professionals learn "what a law is, how a law is made, how a law is used." Legal education is not meant to have people acquire detailed legal knowledge. It is meant to have people acquire a legal way of thinking, including the principles and values lying behind each law. This committee performs legal education-related activities including "delivery service of legal lecture on demand" and observation of court proceedings, in cooperation with educational institutions. The activities are aimed at developing people who shall bear a free, fair society on their shoulders.
Labor Issue Committee
Under harsh employment conditions there is an increasing number of individual labor disputes, causing the number of labor cases handled by courts (lawsuits and labor tribunal decisions) to substantially increase. There has also been a substantial change in labor legislation. Improving unemployment and social security is another modern task. The committee is deepening its study of current labor problems, labor law system, lawsuit practices and other matters from the viewpoint of both employers and workers and provides training in labor laws to member attorneys. The committee also offers counseling on labor issues, and further, organizes workshops so that member attorneys may address labor issues more appropriately.