1st German-Japanese Online Conference on Criminal Law

On 7 October 2022, the first German-Japanese Online Conference on Criminal Law took place and continues international criminal law exchange.

Research & Faculty |

Organised by Professor Dr Karsten Gaede, Bucerius Law School, almost 100 German and Japanese criminal law scholars took part in the conference, which was held in both German and Japanese using simultaneous translation.


new chapter in the long-standing exchange between German and Japanese

The aim of the conference was to open a new chapter in the long-standing exchange between German and Japanese criminal law scholars after the difficulties caused by the covid pandemic.

The organisers Professor Gaede (Bucerius Law School), Professor Dr. Helmut Satzger (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich) and spokesperson of the Association of German-Speaking Professors of Criminal Law, RA Hironaga Kaneko (German-Japanese Lawyers Association, DJJV), Professor Shigeki Yanagawa (Comparative Law Institute of Chuo UniversityTokyo), Professor Dr. Keizo Yamamoto (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research of Law and Politics, Kyoto University), as well as Professor Dr. Takaaki Matsumiya (Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto) representing Professor Dr. Kazushige Asada (Research Association of Criminal Law Literature, Japan), stressed this in their opening remarks.


medical criminal law

The first German-Japanese Online Conference on Criminal Law focused on medical criminal law. This area of law was chosen because it offers a range of particularly topical and controversial issues that have shaped the legal discussions in both countries in recent years, especially in light of the pandemic. In addition, as Professor Satzger emphasised in his opening remarks, medical criminal law problems are mostly also problems of general criminal law and are therefore particularly well suited for a comparative law exchange.

The programme itself was divided into two parts, each with two lectures on German and Swiss law respectively and two lectures on Japanese law. While the topic for the first part was proposed by the German participants, the impetus for the second part came from the Japanese side.


collision of duties and triage

The first part, chaired by Professor Dr. Frank Saliger (LMU Munich) and Professor Dr. h.c. Kanako Takayama (Kyoto University) was dedicated to the collision of duties and triage. Professor Dr. Frauke Rostalski (University of Cologne) opened the session with a lecture on the recent developments of the concept of justification through collision of duties (“rechtfertigende Pflichtenkollision”) in the triage context, followed by a commentary by Professor Dr. Armin Engländer (LMU Munich).

The legal situation in Japan was then analysed by Professor Matsumiya, followed by a commentary on the meaning and limits of triage as a collision of duties by Professor Dr. Makoto Tadaki (Chuo University, Tokyo). In the discussion that followed, the German and Japanese perspectives were successfully brought together to discuss the many and transnational aspects of triage.


various facets of proceduralisation

After a short break, four other speakers addressed various facets of proceduralisation. Professor Prof h.c. Dr. Dres h.c. Makoto Ida (Chuo University, Tokyo) opened this part with a lecture on "Proceduralisation of Medical Decisions Using the Example of Terminating Life-Sustaining Treatment". A second perspective on the Japanese approach to proceduralisation with a focus on the differences between civil and public law was then offered by Professor Takayama's commentary, after which Professor Gaede gave a critical overview of various forms of proceduralisation in German medical criminal law.

The final commentary on the ending of life-sustaining treatment in Swiss law was delivered by Professor Dr. Brigitte Tag (University of Zurich). The final, animated discussion – chaired by Professor Dr. Gunnar Duttge (Georg-August-University Göttingen) and Professor Dr. Makoto Takizawa (Chuo University, Tokyo) – once again showed the great interest of participants in exchanging ideas across national legal systems and how well international academic dialogue can succeed not only in person, but also online. 

Accordingly, the closing speakers Dr. Jan Grotheer, Honorary President of the DJJV, Professor Satzger, Professor Ida and Professor Takayama expressed their appreciation for the conference. Professor Ida rightly emphasised how fundamental problems of criminal law required strong and comprehensive transnational solutions and stressed that Conferences like this contributed significantly to the necessary dialogue within criminal law scholarship.


Jessica Krüger