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Business Law Department
The Business Law Department of the Graduate School of Law, Hitotsubashi University, is the leading institution for advanced business law education in Japan aimed at practicing legal professionals who are currently living and working in Japan. It offers a rich curriculum of business law classes and focuses on combining practice with theory. Classes are taught in the evening and on weekends, enabling students to continue working while earning their degree.
A significant number of our faculty has substantial full-time work experience as practicing lawyers or other professionals. A very low student/faculty ratio of about 3:1 allows close faculty supervision of student work and enables intensive in-class interaction. The Business Law Department is located in the convenient Chiyoda campus, just north of the Imperial Palace.
The Business Law Department, originally established in 2000 as a branch of the former Graduate School of International Corporate Strategy (ICS), was moved to the Graduate School of Law in April 2018 as a result of administrative reorganization of Hitotsubashi University. Building on the experiences of the ICS, the Business Law Department will maintain and strengthen its excellent qualities and further its educational goals.
Courses of Study
The Business Law Department currently offers Masters and PhD programs in Business Law.
In the Masters Program in Business Law (MA degree), students can focus on business law, including corporate, intellectual property, financial, tax, and labor law. Research professors and professionals with extensive practical experience (lawyers and other experts) will cooperate closely, offering lectures and research guidance, and teaching students to handle practical advisory work and dispute resolution. This provides students with the opportunity to understand, both theoretically and systematically, the varied problems that corporate legal departments, lawyers and patent attorneys confront in practice.
Students can complete the following concentrations resulting in the award of a Certificate in addition to the MA degree:
- Intellectual Property – within the total required credits, complete a specified minimum number of courses relating to Intellectual Property and write a thesis in Japanese under the close supervision of the faculty thesis advisor.
- Global Business Law ("GBL") - within the total required credits, complete a specified minimum number of credits taught in English (for those interested, all credits can be completed using English language course offerings) as well as a research paper equivalent to a thesis and similarly supervised, albeit permitting alternative styles and formats. The research paper must also be written in English. This concentration was designed in response to the growing need in Japan for internationally-minded business law professionals who can work effectively in English as well as to make Japanese business law and practice more accessible to non-Japanese legal professionals working in Japan who prefer to study in English.
The Doctoral Program in Business Law (PhD degree) is available to a limited number of excellent students each year and requires development and completion of a substantial dissertation, under the close supervision of the faculty thesis advisor. Please note that currently Doctor's dissertations in languages other than Japanese cannot be accepted.
This student exchange program provides a limited number of non-Japanese law students from exchange partner law schools in Australia, Germany, Singapore and the U.S. with an opportunity to study Japanese and international business law in English during the Fall semester.
Vicki L. Beyer
University of Nebraska at Omaha (BA, 1980), University of Washington (MA, 1987), University of Washington School of Law (JD, 1990), Bond University (LL.M. 1994)
Professor Beyer, a lawyer admitted in Washington state, worked as an in-house lawyer for multinational corporations for 17 years, specializing in labor/employment and corporate governance. Before that, she ran and taught in the Temple University Law School Program in Japan and also taught at Bond University. She has been a research scholar at the University of Tokyo and a part-time lecturer at Keio University, Meiji Gakuin University, Nagoya University and Sophia University. She has served as both a Governor and a Vice President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan and was a member of the Japanese Ministry of Justice's Internationalization Study Group (2002-04). Professor Beyer joined our faculty in 2017.
University of Tokyo (BA, 1986), University of Tokyo (LLB, 1990)
Professor Inoue taught at the University of Tokyo (1993-1995), Tsukuba University (1995-2002), and Kobe University (2002-2010), and was a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Information, Amsterdam University (2006, 2007-2008). Her area of research is intellectual property law. Professor Inoue has recently co-authored a book on information law and a casebook on intellectual property law. She is a member of a number of advisory councils, including the Council for Industrial Policy of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Professor Inoue joined our faculty in 2010.
Masakazu Iwakura（Professor from Practice）
University of Tokyo (LLB, 1985); Harvard Law School (LLM, 1993)
Professor Iwakura is a partner at the law firm of Nishimura & Asahi (Senior Partner & Executive Committee Management Member). He has practice experience at Debevoise & Plimpton (New York, 1993-1994) and Arnold & Porter (Washington DC, 1994-1995). He has twice been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School (2007, 2013). His field of expertise is Mergers & Acquisitions. In addition to a variety of publications in that field, Professor Iwakura currently serves as an independent director or independent outside auditor for three listed Japanese companies. Professor Iwakura joined our faculty in 2006 and is admitted to practice in Japan and New York.
University of Tokyo (LLB, 1980); Harvard Law School (LLM, 1990)
Professor Nakakubo has taught at Fukuoka University, Chiba University, and Kyushu University. He was a Visiting Scholar at University of Pennsylvania Law School (1989-1990), University of Washington Law School (1997), Cornell Law School (2010, and University of Glasgow (2013), and was a Visiting Professor at Johann Wolfgang Goethe University (1999). Professor Nakakubo has published widely on both Japan and the U.S. in his field of labor and employment law. He serves as a member of both Japan's Central Labor Relations Commission and its Central Minimum Wage Council. Professor Nakakubo joined our faculty in 2007.
Hitotsubashi University (LLB, 1979); Hitotsubashi University (MA, 1981)
Professor Nunoi taught at Tokai University (1984-1998), and has been a Visiting Scholar at Bonn University (1986-1987) and Munich University (1993-1994) in Germany. His research broadly covers international and comparative commercial law, and he has published articles in English, German, and French, in addition to those in Japanese. Professor Nunoi's recent work has a focus on Vietnam and Southeast Asia. He served as chief committee member of the JICA legislative cooperative project in China (2004-2009). Professor Nunoi joined our faculty in 1998.
University of Tokyo (LLB, 1997), Hitotsubashi University (Phd, 2003); Washington University (LLM 2004)
Professor Ogawa has been an associate professor of law at our faculty since 2008. His major research interest is the comparative study of financial regulations in Japan and the United States. His recent publication includes "Financial Instruments and Exchange Act" (Shinseisha 2012) and "Commercial Law" (Shinseisha 2013). His Japanese translation of Marc I. Steinberg's "Understanding Securities Law, 4th Ed." (Matthew Bender & Co. 2007) was published by LexisNexis Japan. Professor Ogawa is admitted to practice in New York.