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THE JAPANESE Bar is set to swing behind a government initiative to establish an international commercial arbitration centre in Japan.
Akira Kawamura, of leading Tokyo firm Anderson Mori, told delegates at the ABA conference that the Japanese legal profession was making a concerted effort to put arbitration on the map in Japan.
He said that the government had recently published a report calling for a new international centre and that "a joint study commission" set up by the Japanese Bar and the Ministry of Justice was likely to back the project.
He added that there were an "incredibly small" number of commercial arbitration cases currently taking place in Japan and that efforts to promote international arbitrations had so far failed.
Fewer than 10 petitions a year were heard by the best recognised forum, the Japan Commercial Arbitration Association, sponsored by the Ministry of International Trade and Industries.
Even fewer case went to the Japanese Maritime Arbitration Association.
Kawamura said: "There may be some reasons why arbitration in Japan has not been popular, although the Japanese cultural background should have been favourable for that."