Tagungsbericht Deutsch-Japanisches Symposium „Straftheorie und Strafgerechtigkeit“ in Augsburg
A German-Japanese symposium on criminal law took place at the University of Augsburg in September 2009 with the active participation of the German-Japanese Association of Jurists. Organizers Henning Rosenau (Augsburg) and Sangyun Kim (Kyoto) were keen to continue the dialogue between German and Japanese criminal law scholars that has been going on for over 100 years.
The aim of this year’s event was to collaboratively examine how the two very similar criminal justice systems have evolved over time to meet the new demands of a securityoriented society on the state and the judiciary, particularly given social developments and new threats such as terrorism. Another goal was to identify the limits of the rule of law within which a country must operate. To this end, procedural and substantive criminal law were extensively explored, the purposes and limitations of punishment were put up for discussion, and the trend of the Criminal Code to criminalize acts of preparation – the “Feindstrafrecht” – was investigated. Each topic was addressed by both a German and a Japanese representative in order to analyze and substantiate potentially different points of view.
It turns out that the two criminal jurisdictions, which were founded on very similar principles, have remained very similar in many aspects and tend to face the same issues and problems despite years of independent development. In other respects, however, profound differences were revealed. In Japan, for instance, criminal law is sometimes employed as a political instrument. Additionally, Japan still adheres to the death penalty. Moreover, in Japanese criminal proceedings, the “principle of expediency” is regarded as a fundamental guiding principle, while in Germany the “principle of legality” is given preference. It was very interesting and instructive for both sides to exchange views and to receive new conclusions and approaches, thus achieving the objective of the conference.