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South Korea: Controversial Court Decision on Academic Freedom

(Jan. 15, 2016) The Seoul Eastern District Court, on January 13, 2016, ruled in favor of plaintiffs who filed a defamation suit against Park Yu-ha, a professor of Seoul’s Sejong University. Park published a book entitled Comfort Women of the Empire in June 2014.  The plaintiffs are former comfort women/sex slaves from the World War […]

Japan: Supreme Court States Family Name System Constitutional

(Jan. 8, 2016) On December 16, 2015, the Japanese Supreme Court held that a Civil Code provision that requires one partner of a married couple, which in practice is nearly always the female partner, to change his/her surname to that of the other partner does not violate the relevant provisions of the Constitution. (Case No. […]

South Korea: Constitutional Court Decides Long-Running Case on Compensation for Forced Labor During Colonial Rule

(Jan. 6, 2016) A lawsuit called “the longest unresolved case” in Korea, which took the country’s Constitutional Court six years to deliberate, was finally settled in December 2015. (2009 Heonba 317 (Dec. 23, 2015) (in Korean); Yong-Jin Che, Claims Agreement Lawsuit That Gained Attention in Korea and Japan, Korean Constitutional Court Avoided Discussion, CHOSUN ILBO […]

South Korea: Refugee Resettlement Program

(Jan. 4, 2016) The first refugees to be handled under South Korea’s new resettlement program arrived in Korea on December 23, 2015. South Korea’s Refugee Act became effective in July 2013. (The Refugee Act, Act No. 11298 of 2012 (Feb. 10, 2012) REFWORLD.) The Act states, “[t]he Minister of Justice may permit resettlement in the […]

Japan: Communist Party Accepts Emperor’s Speech at Opening Ceremony of the Diet as Constitutional

(Jan. 4, 2016) Kazuo Shii, Japan’s Communist Party (JCP) Secretary, met with Tadamori Oshima, Speaker of the House of Representatives, on December 24, 2015, and informed the speaker that JCP members would attend the next opening ceremony of the House. Shii also requested on behalf of the JCP that the ceremony be reformed. (Norihisa Hoshino, […]

Japan: Bar Association Guidelines for Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases

(Nov. 27, 2015) The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) created Guidelines for Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases and sent them to local bar associations throughout Japan in October 2015. (Guidelines Exclusively for Capital Defense, JFBA “Special Defense Required,” NIKKEI (Oct. 19, 2015) (in Japanese).) The guidelines are modeled after the American Bar Association […]

Japan: New Wine Labeling Regulation

(Nov. 4, 2015) Japan did not previously have regulations on the labeling of wine made from grapes, except for the industry’s own regulations. As more wine is drunk in Japan and more domestic manufacturers make wines, clearer regulations have been sought by consumers. (Alcohol Tax Division, 16th Meeting Minutes (June 17, 2015), National Tax Council […]

South Korea: Supreme Court Keeps Unfaithful Spouses from Being Able to File for Divorce

(Oct. 13, 2015) On September 15, 2015, the Supreme Court of Korea upheld the precedent that a court may not grant a divorce when the petitioner is the spouse responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. (2013 므568 Divorce 이혼 (Sept. 15, 2015), Supreme Court of Korea website [click pdf file].) This was the first […]

Japan: Current State of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Regulation

(Oct. 6, 2015) When a small drone was discovered on the roof of the Japanese Prime Minister’s office building in Tokyo on April 22, 2015, there was no effective regulation in place to prohibit the act of flying such a device. (UPDATE: Radiation Detected on Drone Found on Roof of Prime Minister’s Office, ASAHI SHIMBUN […]