Japan’s Justice Ministry to Help Ukraine Upgrade Its Legal System; Move Hopes to Facilitate Post-War Entry of Japanese Companies, Investment

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Justice Ministry in Tokyo

The Justice Ministry, responding to a request from Ukraine, will begin providing assistance to upgrade the European country’s legal system and help in the education of judges and other judiciary personnel, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The aim is to support the recovery and reconstruction of Ukraine that continues to fend off Russian aggression, and to create a legal environment that facilitates the entry of Japanese companies into Ukraine after the war is over.

The ministry is working to prepare the start of such assistance by next spring, according to sources.

The ministry is considering inviting Ukrainian judges, prosecutors and other judicial officials to Japan to develop the necessary human resources through education. The assistance will be expanded while keeping an eye on the situation in Ukraine.

The plan foresees providing advice on establishing a legal framework for companies to enter the Ukrainian market or make investments once the war is over. The details will be decided in discussions with the Ukrainian side.

The ministry has previous experience in such ventures, having assisted Vietnam in drafting a civil procedure law and revising its criminal procedure law, and helped Indonesia strengthen its arbitration system.

Ukraine is said to have been impressed by these achievements, and issued a request for Japan’s assistance in January this year, explaining that it was working to upgrade the judicial sector, including the courts, as well as revise the civil and criminal procedure laws.

Meanwhile, the ministry is considering also helping enhance legal systems in Pacific island nations. With China attempting to expand its influence in the region, the Japanese government is focusing on strengthening relations with such countries, and the ministry’s efforts play a part in this movement.

Fiji and Samoa are two countries that have been mentioned. “Rather than pushing the Japanese legal system on them, we want to provide assistance that is suited to the actual situation in the country and lead to the promotion of the ‘rule of law,’” a senior ministry official said, The ministry has implemented assistance to developing countries in the formulation and revision of domestic laws, the educating of judicial personnel and other aspects. In countries with an undeveloped legal structure, foreign companies often are leery about entering the market or making investments, so from that perspective, the ministry’s assistance also helps promote economic development.

Since 1994, when Vietnam became the first recipient of assistance, the ministry has provided support to a total of 15 countries as of June, mainly developing nations in Southeast Asia and Central Asia including Indonesia, Cambodia and Uzbekistan.