NYU School of Law has announced a grant of $5 million from the Government of Japan for an endowment of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute (USALI) to ensure its long-term sustainability and to promote the use of international law to resolve conflicts and disputes in Asia.

NYU Law receives $5 million gift from the Government of Japan
Japanese Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi and NYU Law Dean Trevor Morrison

A research center that seeks to promote the rule of law and human rights in Asia, USALI serves as a resource and partner for various Asian countries as they develop their legal systems, and is one of the leading research centers in the US for the study of law in Asia.

“We are enormously grateful to the government of Japan for its generous support of the US-Asia Law Institute,” said NYU Law Dean Trevor Morrison. “The Law School is dedicated to advancing scholarship in comparative and international law, and this grant will further the institute’s important work promoting mutual understanding between the United States and Asia on legal issues, engaging with Asian partners to advocate for legal reform, and educating our students and the public about legal developments in Asia.”

The grant recognizes the pathbreaking work of Professor of Law Jerome Cohen and USALI, guaranteeing that the leadership and research of the institute continue well into the future.

The announcement of the gift coincided with USALI’s 23rd Annual Timothy A. Gelatt Memorial Dialogue on the Rule of Law in East Asia, which took place on November 6. This year’s day-long program was titled “China and International Law: Human Rights, Sovereignty, and Dispute Resolution.” One of the discussions, “Japan, China, and Disputes in the East China Sea,” featured Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, consul general of Japan in New York, and Ren Ito LLM ’04, senior fellow at USALI.

Guided by Wilf Family Professor of Property Law Frank Upham, author of the highly regarded book “Law and Social Change in Post-War Japan,” USALI scholarship related to Japan has deepened over the years. USALI regularly hosts two to four visiting scholars from Japan for one-year periods each, and these scholars have included judges, lawyers, academics, and journalists who research law-related topics. This year the institute is hosting three visiting scholars for a full year. Two additional scholars, one for a month-long program on East Asian-American criminal justice and one for a shorter period, have also visited at USALI.

USALI held its first conference in Japan in June. The event, held in Osaka, centered on a comparative study of the prevention and redress of wrongful convictions in the US and East Asia. USALI plans to convene a conference focusing on Japan, similar to the Gelatt Dialogue, and hopes to co-sponsor this event with Japanese think tanks and universities to discuss matters of international law related to political, security, and economic issues in East Asia.

In spring 2018, Professor Upham will teach a seminar titled “Law and Society in Japan,” and NYU Law will offer a course next fall on comparative criminal justice in Japan, China, Taiwan, and the United States in cooperation with a visiting professor from Japan.


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