2 Technical assistance in the legal field

As part of its Official Development Assistance (ODA) policy, Japan has been providing technical assistance in the legal field to developing Asian countries, etc. since 1994.

They include support in preparing draft laws, development of law enforcement systems, and human resource development of law experts to engage in such activities in developing countries, etc.

Establishment of the “rule of law” and appropriate functioning of the legal system in developing countries leads to greater stabilization of their politics, society, and economy, thus leading to continuous development that in turn leads to greater stability and development throughout the region. This process is an essential prerequisite to the safety and development of Japan today as international interdependency further deepens. For this reason there has been heightened recognition of the importance of that support in recent years, which was pointed out in the Recommendations of the Justice System Reform Council (2001) and the general principle of ODA (revised version decided by cabinet in 2003), along with being stipulated in the middle term policies of ODA (decided by the cabinet in 2005). In addition, the Overseas Economic Cooperation Council of the cabinet confirmed in 2008 the support to be of great importance and thus should be promoted in a strategic manner, and then in 2009 approved the “Basic Guidelines for Legal System Development Support.” Furthermore, the Concluding Declaration of the G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting that was held in 2008 also stipulated the importance of technical assistance in the legal field, for example the development of legal systems and the preparation of basic laws and judicial training.

The International Cooperation Department, Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice, which is specifically in charge of support activities at the Ministry of Justice, plays a key role in carrying out most of the support activities in Japan within the framework of the technical cooperation project for developing countries implemented by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

In the field of criminal justice, support has been furnished for Vietnam and Laos through the formulation of a “Public Prosecutors Manual” and promotion activities, etc. in order to improve both the practices and capacity of the public prosecutors in the Supreme People's Procuracy in Vietnam and Laos where public prosecutors have the authority to attend hearings of cases involving the Civil and Commercial Code. In Vietnam activities with the aim of improving the practices and capacity of judges and public prosecutors, etc. through analysis of current criminal trial practices and identifying any issues and providing measures to correct them have been carried out mainly through public prosecutors being dispatched for a long-term as experts in a currently ongoing project. In addition, assistance in formulating the continuation of the abovementioned “Public Prosecutors Manual” (concerning activities of public prosecutors in appellate instances) has been provided, and as part of support for Vietnam to amend its Code of Criminal Procedure, training on the criminal justice system has been conducted for the officials of the Supreme People's Procuracy of Vietnam who are in charge of preparing draft laws. Support activities in Laos through the formulation of model teaching materials concerning the Code of Criminal Procedure are being planned in a new project that will commence in 2010.

In FY 2009 training was conducted for executives of the Justice Department in East Timor with the aim of improving their ability to prepare draft laws, and using the extradition and drug control related acts as the subject matter, as requested by East Timor. In FY 2010, being based on a request from the Nepal government, training was conducted in Japan for members of the “Criminal Justice Improvement Committee” around the theme of a comparison of criminal justice systems.