The Permanent Secretariat for Planning and Coordination (SPC) of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC) introduces AACC during visits to other constitutional courts or equivalent institutions. The delegation led by Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat also did so when making an official visit to the Supreme Court of Japan on Monday, September 4, 2023. The MKRI delegation was welcomed by Chief Justice Tokura Saburo, Director of Secretariat Itatsu Masamichi, and Director of International Affairs Ide Masahiro.
The official visit started with a presentation on the duties, authority, and management of the Supreme Court of Japan. Ide Masahiro explained that the 15 justices selected by the cabinet had diverse backgrounds. Some of them were career judges while others were prosecutors, attorneys, diplomats, and law professors. He also explained that the justices’ term is not limited as long as they are elected when they reach 40 years of age at the minimum and enter into retirement at 70 years of age.
He also explained that the Supreme Court of Japan is the final avenue to review laws against the Constitution. “Courts under the Supreme Court also has the authority of judicial review,” he said.
Similar to the US, in Japan, concrete cases can also serve as an impetus to amending laws, as long as the petitioner can prove their constitutional impairment.
After the presentation, the MKRI delegation discussed with the Chief Justice. At the beginning of the discussion, Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat stated that the MKRI would like to improve relations between Indonesia and Japan, both members of G20, especially in the judicial sector. He said that although the two countries have differing legal systems, they share the same spirit in the enforcement of law, human rights, and democracy.
He also expressed the MKRI’s wish to learn more about the authority of the Supreme Court of Japan and its experience in handling judicial process swiftly, appropriately, and fairly. He also inquired about any possibility of cooperation in capacity building in the future. He revealed that the MKRI had made significant contribution in the international forums, such as in the World Conference on Constitutional Justice (WCCJ) and the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions (AACC). As a permanent secretariat for the AACC, the MKRI also invited the Supreme Court of Japan to learn about the association and to participated in future AACC symposiums and conferences.
In response, Chief Justice Tokura said he had heard many things about the MKRI’s role in the international forums for constitutional jurisdictions as well as the AACC. However, he stated that the Supreme Court of Japan’s stance is to not participate in any organization and he asked for understanding about that fact. “Although we do not participate in any organizations, the Supreme Court of Japan understands the importance of discussions with constitutional jurisdictions in other countries to learn from one another,” he said.
He also expressed hope that the two courts can keep in touch and follow up on it with concrete steps. He added that the Supreme Court of Japan has something that might be of interest to the MKRI, i.e. case mediation.
“We gave training to the judiciary of Vietnam, who was interested in adopting case mediation in their country. It might be of interest to Indonesia as well,” he concluded.
This visit was the MKRI’s first official visit to the Supreme Court of Japan and served to improve relations between the two institutions and to introduce the AACC, which was founded in 2010. Expert assistant to constitutional justice Irfan Nur Rachman, head of the International Affairs Division Immanuel Hutasoit, substitute registrar Rahadian Prima Nugraha, and second secretary for Political Affairs of the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Tokyo Budi A. Djafar were part of the delegation.