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He studied under Professor John O. Haley, an authority on Japanese law, at the University of Washington School of Law.
In Japan, he is also a plaintiff in a 1989 Supreme Court ruling in a "court memo lawsuit" that won the freedom to take memos in the courtroom.
In 2003, under an Abe Fellowship from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership (CGP), researched information disclosure at the National Security Archive, a non-profit research institute at George Washington University.
He also serves as a director of the Japan Civil Liberties Union (JCLU) and the Information Disclosure Clearinghouse, and continues to write about Japanese legal issues, especially the Constitution.

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米国の秘密情報分類実施について 2015年 東京

U.S. Confidential Information Classification Practices
2015 Tokyo


ジェフ キングストン氏と「ブックブレイク」にて 2015年 日本外国特派員協会(東京)

At Bookbreak with Jeff Kingston
2015 Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan (Tokyo)

Meeting Professor John O. Haley, an authority on Japanese law at the University of Washington School of Law, is what inspired me to continue researching Japanese law.

Insightful editors such as Jeff Kingston, Mark Selden, and Laura Hein have inspired me to write and provided valuable input, resulting in a variety of publications. bottom.

Special thanks to Dan Rosen for thoroughly checking the manuscript of my November 2022 publication “Japan's Prisoners of Conscience.” The support of Miki Okamoto, my lifelong partner, was also a great source of strength.

During my ten years of practicing law in Japan and the United States, my first mentors in Tokyo, Attorney Toshio Miyatake and the generous Attorney Yamaji Harago, opened my eyes to the many mysteries of Japanese legal practice. .  

In 1985, over 500 people lost their lives in the crash of a large airliner in Nagano. I would like to express my respect for the brilliant leadership of Attorney Isso Suzuki, who ultimately led the plaintiff's claims to a settlement.

In the 1990s, I met Frank Russell executive Craig Euland, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work for such a wonderful company.
I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the many people who have supported me so far.

I would like to continue writing about Japanese law so that I can open a small window to the dramatic evolution of Japanese democracy. Most of my writings are introduced on this homepage.

Research theme

  • Right to Know, Freedom of Information, and Open Government Laws

  • Japan​Constitution

  • comparative constitution

  • international human rights law

Academic Positions

2010 – 2017

Professor, responsible to teach courses in American and international law, Faculty of Law, Meiji University, Japan

2008 – 2010

Visiting Professor, University of Washington Law School, Seattle, WA. USA (Garvey Schubert Visiting Professor of Asian Law)

2004 – 2009

Professor, responsible to teach courses in U.S. law and to co-direct the Legal Clinic in Freedom of Information at Omiya Law School, Japan

2003 – 2004

Abe Fellow, conducted research in open government law at the National Security Archive, Washington, D.C. ( sponsored by the Center for Global Partnership (

2001 – 2003

Director, Temple University Law School Program in Japan and Associate Dean, Temple University Japan

1979 - 2001

Practiced law and worked in managerial positions in Seattle and Tokyo



J.D. (University of Washington Law School, 1979)



“Japan’s Prisoners of Conscience -- Protest and Law During the Iraq War”


“Chilling Effects on News Reporting in Japan’s ‘Anonymous Society’” (with Yasuomi Sawa) in Kingston (ed.), Press Freedom in Contemporary Japan (Routledge, 2017)


Suppressing Free Speech in Japan – the Police Campaign of 2004, 23 Meiji Law Journal 25

“Nationalism and the Law – Japan’s Tale of Two Constitutions,” in Kingston (ed.), Asian Nationalisms Reconsidered (Routledge, 2016)


“Japan’s Constitutional Past, Present and Possible Futures,” (with Colin P.A. Jones) in Allison and Baldwin (eds.) Japan: The Precarious Years Ahead (NYU Press, 2015)

“’Personal Information,’ Media Control, and Government Power – Legislative Battles in Japan, 1999-2003,” 22 Meiji Law Journal 9


“Raising the Wall of Secrecy in Japan – the State Secrecy Law of 2013,” 21 Meiji Law Journal 13


“Japan’s Judicial System Reform Council and the ‘Rule of Law’,” Journal of the Japanese Association of the Sociology of Law, Vol. 78


“Law and Society,” in Bestor and Bestor (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Japanese Culture and Society (Routledge)

“Reserved Seats on Japan’s Supreme Court,” Washington University Law Journal, Vol. 88

“Citizens: The Founders of Japan’s Freedom Information Movement,” Meiji Law Journal, Vol. 18


“The 1949 Attorneys Law –Private Lawyers Gain Autonomy, Foreign Lawyers Find a New Path to the Bar, in Haley (ed.) Law and Practice in Postwar Japan: The Postwar Reforms and Their Influence (Blakemore Foundation and International House of Japan)


“Mr. Madison in the 21st Century – The Global Diffusion of Freedom of Information Laws,” in Watanabe and McConnell (eds.) Soft Power in Action: National Assets in Japan and the United States (M.E. Sharpe)

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