Tohoku University has launched a Centre for International Law and Policy (CILP), with the aim of promoting better understanding and dissemination of international law, as well as helping to develop policy proposals.
The university celebrated the centenary of its Faculty of Law and Letters in 2022 and the new centre, which officially opened on April 1, will facilitate its long tradition of applying world-leading research towards solutions to social problems.
Tohoku University's Executive Vice President for General Affairs, Financial Affairs and International Relations Toshiya Ueki, who is also a professor of international law, will serve as the centre's first director.
"In recent years, the state of global affairs has become increasingly unstable. From military conflicts to issues of economic disparity, scarcity of natural resources, climate change and pandemics, the need for transnational diplomatic efforts has become vital," said Ueki. "We believe that it is our responsibility as a research university, to contribute to the resolution of these issues, with the comprehensive knowledge accumulated in the 100-year history of our Faculty of Law and Letters."
Specifically, the new centre, which is located at Katahira campus, will promote dialogue and the sharing of expertise through international symposiums and conferences. It will develop policy recommendations on how Japan can add to the efforts of international judicial institutions, to bring peaceful resolutions to international conflicts. It also plans to help formulate international rules for organizations such as the United Nations and World Health Organization.
Ueki added that "current global challenges differ from those of the 20th century, so there is a need to create new rules." He listed oceanic and maritime issues, the development of resources in space, SDGs, climate change and unmanned warfare as potential areas the centre can explore. "We will have the participation of students and young researchers who will have new ideas and opinions, so there will be opportunities for the whole university to help create a new order for this century."
Ahead of the centre's opening, Tohoku University Specially Appointed Visiting Professor, and former International Criminal Court (ICC) judge, Kuniko Ozaki gave a lecture on March 23. The hybrid event was attended by over 100 participants.
Ozaki, who is an expert on international human rights law and criminal law, spoke on the role and challenges of the International Criminal Court, and fielded many questions on the current situation in Ukraine.
Before the lecture, special guests were also invited to view the "Shigeru Oda Memorial Room for Judges of the International Court of Justice" at the University Archives. The exhibit is normally closed to the public. Oda was a judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for 27 years and was also a professor at Tohoku University. He was awarded the Order of Culture by the Japanese government in 2012.
International Planning Division
General Affairs and Planning Department, Tohoku University