20 Nov 2020 Posted in [Speeches]
Your Excellency, Minister of Justice Yoko Kamikawa
Ladies and Gentlemen
- It’s a pleasure to join all of you today to celebrate the second anniversary of the Japan International Mediation Centre in Kyoto (JIMC-Kyoto), and the official launch of the JIMC-SIMC (Singapore International Mediation Centre) Joint COVID-19 Protocol.
2nd Anniversary of JIMC-Kyoto
- In December 2017, SIMC signed an MOU with the Japan Association of Arbitrators (JAA) in relation to the setting up of a new Japan International Mediation Centre in Kyoto, with the idea that we would work together with each other to promote mediation.
- JIMC-Kyoto was launched on 20 November 2018. It has an impressive panel of international mediators from jurisdictions around the world, has rules that are aligned with international best practices, and excellent hearing facilities, including one on the grounds of Kodaiji Temple, which is one of the most famous Zen temples in Kyoto.
- After the launch, JIMC and SIMC have continued to work closely together to promote mediation to the business community in Japan, to raise awareness of the benefits of mediation – which is efficient, cost-effective, amicable. It is especially important for businesses that do not want lengthy legal proceedings and wish to preserve business relationships.
- SIMC’s own experience is that more than 70% of their cases can be settled using mediation. Most can be settled within a very short period, and many parties shake hands at the end. It saves a lot of time and resources for businesses.
- I believe mediation will become more and more widely used, especially with the Singapore Convention on Mediation, which entered into force on 12 September 2020.
Singapore Convention on Mediation
- As many of you might know, the Singapore Convention represents a significant development in international commercial dispute resolution. Previously, there were no effective means to enforce cross-border commercial mediated settlement agreements. Now, mediated settlement agreements can be enforced more readily by the courts of Contracting Parties to the Convention, and can also be invoked by a party as a defence against a claim. It gives businesses around the world greater certainty on mediation. It will facilitate the growth of international commerce.
- The Convention opened for signature in Singapore last year, on 7 August. 46 countries signed on that day, which is amongst the highest number of first-day signatories for any United Nations trade convention. Since then, seven more countries have signed, bringing the total to 53. Enough countries have ratified for the Convention to now have come into force.
- The strong show of support for the Convention bears testament to multilateralism and also the continued commitment of countries around the world to a rules-based international order.
- This is a good start. We look forward to more countries coming on board in the near future – including, of course, Japan, which is the third-largest economy in the world – so as to realise the full potential of the Convention, and better support companies doing cross-border work.
JIMC-SIMC Joint COVID-19 Protocol
- The JIMC-SIMC Joint COVID-19 Protocol is another example of how many of us are constantly looking at ways to support businesses.
- Many businesses around the world have been hit very hard by the pandemic. Disputes could increase. Parties may find it harder to fulfil their contractual obligations due to COVID-19.
- Under the JIMC-SIMC Protocol, SIMC and JIMC will each nominate a mediator. Businesses can resolve their disputes through online mediation. We hope this will take off.
- Congratulations once again on the 2nd anniversary of JIMC-Kyoto, and the official launch of the JIMC-SIMC Joint COVID-19 Protocol.
- We look forward to strengthening our partnership and working with Japan.
- Thank you.
Last updated on 20 Nov 2020