Table Speech


Initiation Speech

September 13, 2006

Mr. Morihiko Tatsuno,
Mr. Kohei Yamada

Initiation Speech
“Changes to Lawyers in the 21st Century”

Mr. Morihiko Tatsuno,
Partner, Shiba International Law Office

 From the 20th Century to the 21st Century, the attorney at law profession in Japan has undergone dramatic changes. I would like to speak of objective changes from three perspectives.

1Change in the Numbers
Since 1949 when the national bar examination was first implemented until 1990, the number of candidates that passed the bar had been around 500 annually.

 Since 1991, the numbers passing rose gradually and by 2000, the number passing the bar reached 1,000. The number of candidates passing this year is roughly 2,000 and this number is expected to increase to 3,000 by 2010.

 Even with these increases, if compared with foreign countries, the number of lawyers per capital is low. However, in Japan there are holders of other qualifications including patent agent, judicial scrivener, and tax accountant that may be considered latent legal experts and a straightforward comparison is difficult.

2. Changes to the System of Nurturing Lawyers
A graduate school of law is a graduate school that requires 2 years of studies in the case of a student graduating from a law faculty of an university, or 3 years for others to graduate and to obtain eligibility to take the new national bar examination after which those passing the examination are admitted to the bar after 1 year of practical experience. This year 5,825 students are expected to enter 74 schools. The new system tries to solve the problem regarding the number of students, and to eliminate the past adverse effects of student exclusively focusing on test taking techniques.

3. Change in Quality
The information volume in the world has increased, and with the increase in the number of attorneys, specialization is advancing. In the past, law offices would have few attorneys, but gradually large-scale law offices are increasing, and law offices with 300 or 400 attorneys have begun to appear. It is expected that those qualified to practice law will expand into a variety of fields including corporations, governmental agencies and NPOs.

 In such a diverse field, service to society is also a responsibility that is expected of Japan’s lawyers in the 21st century.

Initiation Speech
“What Young People Need”

Mr. Kohei Yamada,
General Secretary, the National Council of YMCAs of Japan

 There is a saying, “those who measure time in years, plant flowers; those who measure time in decades, plant trees; and those who measure time in centuries, develop people”. Developing the youth is an important mission in any age.

 The YMCA was founded in 1844 in London. It was a youth movement that was meant to direct their energy toward their growth and the benefit of society.

 When it was introduced into Japan in 1880, the YMCA was translated as “Christian Youth Society”. It is said to be the first time that the term, “Youth” was ever used in Japan. The YMCA, through the development of young people, is intended to direct the abilities and energies of young people toward the good of society. Today, there are some 45 million members in 124 countries around the world. In Japan, 100,000 members in 30 prefectures are active.

Young people of recent times tend to not become involved with the outside world. Even in school, they tend to associate in small cliques. They do not attempt to break out of their shell to form relationships with many peers. This is a general image of young people.

 According to Dr. Nakamura, who has been active as a medical volunteer in Afghanistan since 1984, Japanese youths who visit Afghanistan each year as volunteers transform in 2 months to young people with glitter in their eyes.

 Mr. Nakamura says, “Amidst the continuing drought and war, the posture of children who cooperate to live and provide mutual support and smiles on the faces of the children even among such poverty, is a human picture that cannot be seen in Japan. The young people, in living communally with these children, soon come to realize the values, ways of thinking, and ways of living that cannot be found in Japan”.

 I think, upon hearing this story, that such experience and impressions will have a significant impact on the young people and their lives. Experiences during youth are treasures of a lifetime. I would like to encourage many young people to participate in social activities.