Comprehensive Research in Advanced Fields (Foreigners and the Law)

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LecturerKaoru OBATA, Professor
DepartmentSchool of Law / Graduate School of Law, 2011 Spring
Recommended for:Graduate School of Law majors in practicum legal training (Nagoya University Law School) (21.5 hours / session One session / week 15 weeks / semester)

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Key Features

It is difficult to say that sufficient knowledge about law and policy on foreigners is provided in first- and second-year classes at the Law School. Nevertheless, on one hand foreigner policy comprises a focal point for the future course of Japanese society, and it is becoming increasingly important for lawyers to study the circumstances and factors behind its change. And, on the other, this particular area provides us with suitable materials for testing whether the basic knowledge provided in previous courses can be developed and put into practice in an emerging field.

Based on the above, in this course, a faculty member specialising in international law will provide fundamental knowledge as the co-ordinator and the lecturer of most classes. At the same time, faculty members majoring in other legal fields and/or foreigner policy, as well as practitioners, have been invited to teach part of the course, in order to cast light on the field from a variety of angles.

What are the actual issues at hand? Whilst being conscious of the concrete aspects of the various problems, how should one tackle them from the perspective of legal theory? The course has been devised so as to have students constantly contemplate the above.

Furthermore, although restricted by time, the instructor will endeavour to provide the opportunity for interaction by posing as many questions as possible.

Course Aims

  1. To observe the situation of foreigners in Japan through the eyes of the law, and grasp the general trend and background thereof.
  2. To acquire basic knowledge of the major problems related to the ICRRA, including practical aspects, and to approach the framework of the Act with a critical mind.
  3. To acquire basic knowledge of the content, nature and applicability of regulations established in international law, which constitute important factors in changes evident in the ICRRA.
  4. To acquire basic knowledge of the recent debate surrounding legal policy on foreigners, and the background thereof, in order to be prepared to deal with future changes.
  5. To learn the fundamentals of research surveys with respect to the ICRRA.


It is desirable for students to have already taken “International Law II”, as offered by the Law School, or an equivalent course offered at the School of Law.

Course Schedule

(Lessons 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 are not listed as they are taught by faculty members and practitioners other than Professor Obata)

Lesson Topic

Lesson 1: Orientation and Foreigners in Japan

There will be an orientation on the course as a whole. We will learn the basics of the alien registration system and residence statuses. Looking at the statistics on foreigners classified according to residence status, we will acquire an understanding of the trends surrounding foreigners in Japan, and consider the background thereof.


Lesson 3: Zainichi Koreans: History and Law

We will acquire basic knowledge of the formation and development of Zainichi Korean communities, and of how the basis for their residence in Japan has been changing. An introduction to the special permanent residence system will be provided. We will come to understand and discuss the issues that revolve around the legal status of Zainichi Koreans.


Lesson 4: Mechanism of Residence Management and the Deportation System

After reviewing the basics of the residence status system, we will learn about the residence management system for medium- to long-term foreigners, due to be enforced in 2012. We will gain basic knowledge of the deportation system and learn to discuss the problems therein.


Lesson 5: Refugees in International and Domestic Law (1)

We will acquire basic knowledge of international law on refugees. We will learn what the refugee phenomenon has consisted of, why an international response to it has been needed, and thus become able to discuss problems inherent in current refugee law.


Lesson 6: Refugees in International and Domestic Law (2)

We will acquire basic knowledge of domestic law related to refugees. We will come to understand the issues surrounding the concept of refugees based on judicial precedents, and learn about procedures for the recognition of refugee status, as well as the legal position of refugees during and after the application procedure. We will become able to discuss problems in domestic refugee law.


Lesson 7: The Principal of Non-Refoulement and its Enforcement

We will understand the variety of forms that exist in norms of the non-refoulement principle (freely translated as the principal of prohibiting expulsion/enforced repatriation in order to prevent the violation of human rights). We will acquire basic knowledge about major issues related to this principle, and grasp the problems inherent in its enforcement in domestic law.


Lesson 8: Guarantee of Residence according to International Human Rights Law (1)

We will review the legal principles of the McLean judgment. We will understand that, within prescribed limits, the residence of foreigners is guaranteed by the concept of the right to return to one's “own country”. We will understand the position of international and domestic precedents/implementation vis-à-vis the concept of “own country”. We will grasp trends evident in international precedents on the right to respect for private and family life and foreigners' guarantee of residence.


Lesson 9: Guarantee of Residence according to International Human Rights Law (2)

We will learn about, 1) trends in domestic precedents regarding the guarantee of residence, which have been driven by demands for the respect of (family) life, as well as, 2) the related area of granting special permission to stay. We will come to understand those International Human Rights Law standards that regulate deportation procedures, and become conscious of problems surrounding domestic procedures.


Lesson 15: Summary

Where necessary, the instructor will respond to requests for advice on the final report. After evaluation, students may consult the instructor individually about matters including grading.


  • Class participation, as determined by assignments and response in lectures: 50%
  • Final report: 50%

Last updated

May 10, 2020