- What are you focusing on during your fellowship period?
My area of research is globalization and legal protection of external investment. Under FTAs such as TPP, investment protection clauses are set out as a legal safeguard for investment through a despute resolution mechanism called ISDS (Investor State Dispute Settlement). In the future, Japanese companies investing overseas will be expected to seek compensation through ISDS when they incur investment damage locally. In turn, it will be possible for foreign companies investing in Japan to sue the Japanese government for their losses. In this regard, it is important to thoroughly study international investment law and international investment arbitration so that these cases can be handled practically.
A secondary area of research during my International Fellowship period was the dissemination of research. Japan would offer a better research environment if I just wanted to read documents; but I was always more interested in how I could communicate my research globally.
- Could you explain briefly what exactly you have been doing during the International Fellowship period?
I was given a visiting fellow post at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies, Queen Mary University of London. In London, symposiums, seminars, meetings and lectures organized by universities and research institutes were daily events; and it is through such events that intellectual communities of researchers, strategists, students and non-academics are created. There was strong interest in international investment law in London as well as among legal practitioners at those symposiums. I looked for opportunities to make presentations at academic conferences and symposiums in the UK and other countries to gain experience with academic presentations in English and had the chance to do so on five occasions.
- Please give your feedback on the International Fellowship Program.
The International Fellowship has support my studies greatly. Without the Nippon Foundation fellowship, it would be difficult to conduct research in London, where rents and commodities are extremely expensive. I have also been provided with money to make presentations at academic conferences overseas. To my surprise, I met researchers from abroad (most of them in Marine Law) in the different countries I visited who were receiving Nippon Foundation grants. This made me realize just how much Nippon Foundation is contributing to the formation of a global network of researchers. Researchers tend to think that the minimum amount of funding is sufficient for research; but, we should think about how much we would need if we want to spend 1-2 years overseas working on our research. I highly recommend those who are interested in studying overseas to apply for this fellowship.
- How do you want to build on your studies in the US after returning to Japan?
Through my experience in the UK, I learned how important it is to build and utilize my network of researchers. My biggest achievement so far was a whaling symposium at Kobe University. During my time overseas, I became acquainted with Prof. Malgosia Fitzmaurice (Department of Law, Queen Mary University of London) and was able to invite her to Japan. We first asked her to accept a position as visiting professor at Kobe University and, while she was in Kobe, we organized an international symposium on legal cases on whaling at the International Court of Justice. Thanks to Prof. FitzMaurice, we were able to invite noted researchers and legal experts from around the world and the symposium was a great successs. We are also planning to publish the symposium results in English. I would like to continue taking advantage of this global network to conduct joint research and communicate my research to the outside.