Author: Toshio Sawada*
Published: December 1994
Description: People in the Western world eat bread and think that Asians only eat rice. Those who engage in comparative studies take delight in the discovery of clear dichotomy and drastic differences, which are at times imaginary. Some maintain that people in the West observe contracts while contracts mean little in Asia.
And there are those who believe that disputes are typically resolved by litigation in the West and by conciliation in Asia. Such sweeping generalization is not tenable, but it is probably true that conciliation, which realizes the Asian ideal of harmonious human relations (and which also accords with the Christian ideal of reconciliation and love), is more popular in Asia. Japan, as a country of Asia, has a unique history and system of conciliation. Sections 1, 3 and 4 of this paper relate to experience in Japan, and Sections 2 and 5 deal with conciliation and mediation in general, although occasional references will be made to Japan.
*Professor of Law, Sophia University, Tokyo; Attorney-at-Law; Vice Chairman, ICC International Court of Arbitration.