Activities of the Association
1. Philosophy of the Osaka Bar Association
Article 1 of the Practicing Attorney Law states: "A practicing
attorney is entrusted with a mission to protect fundamental
human rights and to realize social justice." The Osaka
Bar Association has proposed the following 21st Century Declaration
"As the bearers of the rule of law, we aim to be attorneys
for the 21st Century. We must make the 21st century the century
of the peace and the environment, and the century of respect
for human rights - an era where each individual, and the individuality
of each person is respected. As we have been entrusted with
the noble mission of protecting human rights and achieving
social justice, we must realize our potential even more in
the new century, and fully achieve our mission."
In order to follow through on our 21st Century Declaration,
the Osaka Bar Association upholds the attorney ideal having
five facets, namely: the attorney who strives to protect human
rights, the attorney who is friendly and reliable, the attorney
with specialized knowledge and skills, the attorney who fulfils
his or her duties in the public interest, and the attorney
with an international outlook.
In order to implement the above philosophy, the Osaka Bar
Association works to protect human rights through action by
committees, provides legal services such as legal counseling,
and makes public statements on the enactment and amendment
2. Some of our Committee Activities
(1) Human Rights Protection Committee
If there are suspicions of a human rights violation - like
discrimination based on human rights, social status or creed,
or brutality by police or in detention centers - the Human
Rights Protection Committee conducts an investigation. If
the facts indicate a violation of human rights, the Committee
acts to protect citizens from human rights violations and
unjust treatment by advising the violating group to rectify
The Committee has subcommittees in various areas (freedom
of speech, criminal procedure, medical care, social welfare,
foreign nationals, women, peace and human rights), conducts
investigations and research to probe more deeply into human
rights issues, and provides services like telephone counseling.
(2) Committee on Racketeering and Prevention of Activities
The Committee on Racketeering and Prevention of Activities
by Non-Attorneys conducts investigations, research and planning
of measures against racketeering, and controlling activities
of the non-attorneys.
In bankruptcies, debt collection and other civil dispute
cases, so-called "handlers", "liquidators"
and "collectors" sometimes intervene in cases using
violence, threats and other inappropriate behavior. In these
cases, the Committee is primarily involved in providing support
and guidance to the victims whose right to a peaceful life
has been violated.
(3) Pollution Control and Environmental Protection Committee
The Pollution Control and Environmental Protection Committee
conducts necessary investigations and research on pollution
and environmental problems, in order to protect the natural
environment and prevent pollution.
Pollution and environmental problems change with the times,
but in any era the issues must be studied from a human rights
The Osaka Bar Association is currently working to solve problems
in areas like the urban environment, nature conservation,
wastes and urban disaster prevention.
(4) Criminal Defense Committee
The Criminal Defense Committee conducts necessary investigations
and performs tasks like recommending public defenders in order
to provide more comprehensive and improved criminal defense.
Criminal defense could be called the starting point of the
practice of law. Therefore, the Committee creates criminal
defense guidelines to eliminate improper defense, and is studying
measures like greater transparency in investigations to improve
defense at the investigation stage.
The Committee also supports on-duty criminal attorneys, as
(5) Consumer Protection Committee
The Consumer Protection Committee conducts necessary investigations
and research concerning consumer problems, with the aim of
protecting the consumer.
Consumer protection problems also change with the times.
Currently, the Committee is conducting investigations and
research, making proposals, and exchanging opinions with relevant
organizations regarding electronic commercial transactions,
fair trade, financial products, defective products and consumer
(6) International Committee
This Committee is in charge of tasks such as investigating,
researching and providing information on international legal
problems, and examining foreign special members.
As stated in the Associations 21st Century Declaration, an
international outlook is necessary and indispensable for an
attorney. In order to internationalize the members of Osaka
Bar Association, the Committee holds seminars on the legal
systems of foreign countries, and conducts exchanges within
the international legal fraternity.
(7) Children's Rights Committee
This Committee works on Children's Rights issues in general,
conducting investigations and research regarding actual conditions,
and making proposals. Children's rights are diverse, but at
present the Committee is conducting investigations and research
on topics like juvenile cases, human rights in schools, and
child welfare. The committee also provides telephone counseling
and classes in schools.
(8) Administrative Issues Committee
This Committee conducts investigations and research on how
to achieve greater fairness and transparency in administrative
procedures, invigorate administrative litigation (in areas
like administrative appeals, and administrative lawsuits),
and improve administrative information (i.e. information disclosure).
Expanding the ability of the judiciary to monitor the executive
has been discussed by the Office for Promotion of Justice
System Reform, but at present, the Committee is providing
legal support for regional decentralization, and proposals
for amendment of the Administrative Litigation Law and the
Local Self-Government Law.
3. The Public Defender System and the Duty Attorney System
(1) The Public Defender System
In Japan, in cases where a defendant cannot hire an attorney
due to poverty or some other reason, then the court may appoint
an attorney at the defendant's request, or on its own authority.The
cost of a public defender is paid by the state, but in principle,
if the court finds the defendant guilty, the defendant must
bear the costs.
Many members of the Osaka Bar Association are registered
and active as public defenders.
(2) The Duty Attorney System
The duty attorney system is a system where, before the indictment,
and at the request of the suspect who has been physically
detained, a duty attorney dispatched from the Osaka Bar Association
makes contact with the suspect, and provides the necessary
legal assistance. The first visit by the duty attorney is
free of charge. The aforementioned public defender system
applies to defendants who have been indicted. Therefore, in
order to genuinely safeguard the right of unindicted suspects
to request an attorney, the Osaka Bar Association has obtained
the cooperation of many members, and has been operating a
duty attorney system since March 1, 1992.
4. Some of our Legal Counseling Activities
(1) Legal counseling centers
The Osaka Bar Association itself operates four legal counseling
centers. These legal counseling centers have been opened to
provide counseling to citizens regarding their diverse legal
problems. They provide legal counseling by attorneys to citizens
who have legal problems, and yet risk being disadvantaged
because they do not know an attorney they can consult.
(2) General Support Center for the Elderly and Handicapped
The Osaka Bar Association operates a center which provides
various types of law-related support to elderly and handicapped
persons. This primarily involves legal counseling for the
elderly and handicapped, referral to attorneys providing services
like asset management, and counseling of persons currently
admitted to psychiatric hospitals.
(3) Civil Dispute Resolution Center
This is an ADR operated by Osaka Bar Association. The center
has been established primarily to quickly, properly and inexpensively
resolve the civil disputes of citizens through outof- court
settlement, mediation and arbitration. This program provides
ordinary citizens with a center for resolving disagreements.
(4) Osaka Housing Dispute Council
Based on the "Law Concerning Promotion of Quality Assurance
in Housing, etc.", the Osaka Housing Dispute Council
was established in September 2000 by the Osaka Bar Association
as a civil ADR specializing in disputes related to housing.
5. Opinion Papers and President's Statements
During legislative processes like enactment and amendment,
the Osaka Bar Association publicizes its views, as opinion
papers and in the President's statements regarding laws concerning
judicial reform (like the court system and attorney system),
laws posing problems from a broad view of human rights, and
laws recognizing the necessity for amendment in light of actual
legal practice. The Osaka Bar Association works to ensure
that its views are reflected in legislation.