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F's Seminar 2023

  • Reona FUKUHARA  (M2)

  • Ayaka SAKAKIBARA (M2)

  • Kakeru KIKUCHI (M1)

  • WANG YUXUAN (Research Student)

  • Magda Yukari HAGIYA CORREDO (B4)

  • Daichi KONO (B3)

  • Haruna TSUTSUMI (B3)

  • Miyu NISHIMURA (B3)

  • Hitomi HANATSUKA (B2)

  • Observer Participation: UIPJ (B2/B1)



On December 10th, 2023, the semifinals of the International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition, hosted by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), took place at Waseda University. This essay will provide an overview of the moot court competition hosted by the ICRC and explain the preparation process over approximately six months leading up to the event. In this competition, teams use the rules of IHL applied on the ground in armed conflicts to argue cases set within conflict scenarios, dividing into prosecution and defense sides, competing in logical thinking and creativity. I had the opportunity to participate in this prestigious event during my second year at university despite having little knowledge and experience with moot court.

Since July 2023 I have attended study sessions on IHL alongside senior members of the Fujii's Seminar. Though I had only basic knowledge, I sought guidance from Professor Fujii and senior members to deepen my understanding. Starting in October, I began working on our memorial. Proving Article 28 of the Rome Statute was challenging. The Bemba case illustrated the difficulty in holding superior officers criminally responsible when they were geographically distant from their subordinates’ criminal acts. The September discussion with Judge Akane in the Netherlands highlighted the difficulty of proving Article 28. This experience enhanced my insight.

After completing the memorial, we conducted weekly practice sessions for our oral arguments. Speaking fluently and passionately in English without relying on a script was a new experience, and I practiced diligently at home. The online qualifiers on December 2nd were nerve-wracking, especially responding to questions from the judges. However, we managed to secure second place overall. In the week leading up to the semifinals on December 10th, we intensified our training to improve our responses to the judges’ questions. Despite feeling nervous until the last moment, I confidently presented our arguments.

Although the results were somewhat disappointing, these six months of studying to win the competition have been an invaluable experience for me, and I would like to express my deep gratitude for the opportunity to participate in this truly remarkable and rewarding competition, which is something I would not usually have the chance to experience. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to participate in such a meaningful event and extend my gratitude to Professor Fujii and all members of the Fujii's Seminar. I will continue learning and strive for victory in the next competition!

B2 Miyu Suzuki

On 19th January, 2nd-grade students of UIPJ conducted a presentation of student research in front of Mr. Hidehiko FURUMOTO, who is an expert in the humanitarian aid field, and students who took Professor Fujii's international law class. In this essay, I would like to write down what I felt and experienced through student research at UIPJ.

Firstly, I briefly explained UIPJ and introduced my colleague. UIPJ, Utsunomiya International Peace and Justice, is the name of the club that we aim to study deeply regarding international law or related human rights topics and some practical activities by using the knowledge we learn. As an example of works, we take a workshop on the Rights of the Child and issue the importance of human rights. Members consisted of 1st and 2nd-grade students, and this research was engaged in 2nd-grade students, Miyu SUZUKI, Haruka YOKOI, Nonoka SATOU, and Kaito TATCHIBANA.

Around September of this summer, we began to search for research topics and talked about what we were interested in. Even though there were some differences among our opinions, we discovered a common keyword: peace activities and started reading documents to determine more detailed contents of our research. After sharing each piece of information, we decided to focus on humanitarian aid from the perspective of peace. Then, we found a curious relationship between peacekeeping and humanitarian aid space, what is called a civil-military relationship, and kept gathering information for the mid-term presentation in mid-December that showed progress in getting senior students' opinions. Our research question was, "In what frameworks and methods can UN peacekeeping operations contribute to humanitarian assistance?" However, it was indicated that improper and vague topics to conduct student research and senior students gave us various perspectives. In addition, Prof. Fujii gave us objective advice to improve the quality of the research. He also told us that we needed to narrow the range of topics, such as limiting countries as cases, what kinds of peace activities we would research, etc. As a result, we changed our research question to "Consideration of the relationship between UN peacekeeping operations and emergency humanitarian assistance operations ~ Why does the ICRC not cooperate with peacekeeping operations? In comparison with UNHCR ~" We also did a final presentation several days before an actual presentation. Finally, we could make a presentation about student research on 19th January and receive some questions and advice from Mr. Hidehiko FURUMOTO.

After the presentation of student research, I also had an opportunity to have a conversation with him and ask him some questions about his career path. It was impressive that he has passion and enjoyment even though he had some difficulties in his duties. Since working at an international institution or field of international corporation attracted me, it was a precious chance to get information. Once again, I respect people who do their jobs in humanitarian assistance and feel I would be active around the world like them.

Lastly, we went to a restaurant at Utsunomiya where we could eat gyoza and talked roughly with him. He was so friendly and rooted for us to keep having an interest in international topics, including the humanitarian aid field.

Through the experience of student research, I could learn important things. First, managing and communicating with members is significant to success. In this research, having the same motivation and reorganization of knowledge was challenging. However, producing environments to proceed with all member's agreements made sense. This lesson is also applicable when we work in the future. Second, one research topic that I am fascinated with is a complex but valuable heritage of knowledge, and how to proceed with the research is crucial rather than results. The research confused me because I was unsure how to advance the flow of research. But thanks to guidance from Prof. Fujii and advice from senior students and members of the Lab, I gradually learned how to do my research. Although it was my last work at UIPJ, what I learned, including this research from UIPJ, was valuable in my life.

This student research gave me self-confidence and motivation to keep researching this topic and what I pursue relating to international law and human rights. From now on, I want to challenge myself more actively and try to learn many things.

Ultimately, I again appreciate the guidance of Prof. Fujii and the people who support our student research!

WANG YUXUAN (Research Student)

At the end of September last year, I came to Japan and embarked on a brand new life of studying abroad. I started my studies at Utsunomiya University as an auditor in the school of International Studies. I was confused about the unfamiliarity with Japanese and the inability to adapt to foreign life. However, with the help of my supervisor and mates of F's seminar, I gradually adapted to this new environment.

When I first came to Japan, my Japanese proficiency should have improved, and I hardly understood anything just by hearing it once. In order to improve my Japanese proficiency as soon as possible, the supervisor arranged for my seminar's mate to take turns eating lunch with me to practice daily communication. The session improved my Japanese speaking and listening skills and taught me more about Japanese culture through communication with friends.

In addition to daily communication, I also participated in lectures and learning with F's seminar mates. They helped me understand the teaching content in class and shared learning methods and experiences with me. In this process, I learned more Japanese knowledge as well as gained a deeper understanding of the Japanese education system and professional courses.

In terms of Japanese language courses, I followed the Japanese language courses offered by the university, including reading and dialogue classes. At the same time, I also attended some lectures and activities to understand Japanese culture and society further. These experiences, along with broadening my horizons, helped me better integrate into Japanese society.

As the entrance exam approached, experienced senior students provided me with much help and guidance, especially during preparation. They tirelessly answered my questions and helped me improve my preparation efficiency.

In the end, in December, I successfully passed the graduate entrance exam and embarked on a new journey in Japan. During this period of a research student, I made progress in language and academia, and I have also made many good friends and gained valuable experience in studying abroad. In the future, I will continue to work hard to learn new knowledge.

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