The Research and Training Institute of the Ministry of Justice conducts international cooperation activities in various ways, including the provision of legal technical assistance, to help establish and strengthen good governance based on the rule of law in developing countries. These activities contribute significantly not only to the sound progress in developing countries and regional stability, but also to the strengthening of measures against international crimes as well as the promotion of smooth economic activities in those countries, thereby enhancing the presence of Japan in the international community.
The Ministry of Justice has been contributing to the development of criminal justice policies and capacity building of criminal justice practitioners in developing countries, mainly in the Asia-Pacific region, through the activities of the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFEI), which is operated under the joint auspices of the Japanese government and the United Nations.
Moreover, the Ministry has provided, mainly through activities of the International Cooperation Department in cooperation with institutions concerned, legal technical assistance to Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. The department has provided assistance with a focus on the drafting and amending of fundamental legal codes, as well as the establishment of systems and institutions necessary for the operation of law and capacity building for legal practitioners.
At the “G8 Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial Meeting” held in Tokyo in June 2008, the Ministers reaffirmed the importance of providing capacity building assistance to countries requesting support in the criminal justice field.
The Ministers also affirmed the importance of justice sector technical assistance in developing judicial systems and basic laws and training for legal professionals.
The government of Japan also recognized the importance of legal technical assistance and the need for its strategic implementation, and as a consequence, the “Basic Policies on Legal Technical Assistance” (April 2009) was formulated. In May 2013, these policies were revised to set the additional objectives.
Furthermore, “The Development Cooperation Charter” established by the Cabinet in February 2015 sets forth the importance of legal technical assistance, which involves the development of positive law and the training of legal and judicial experts. Legal technical assistance serves as a measure of sharing universal value and realizing a peaceful and secure society, which is one of the priority issues in the Charter. With respect to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, the target region of the International Cooperation Department, the Charter attaches priority to assistance that promotes the rule of law - the basis for stable economic and social activities.
Taking into account the potential number of requests from developing countries for such legal technical assistance (including training programs for criminal justice and other legal practitioners), the Ministry of Justice is determined to continue and further enhance its international cooperation activities in collaboration with the relevant organizations, in order to help establish good governance based on the rule of law, especially in Asia.