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Top>Hakumon CHUO [2011 Early Spring Issue]>[The spring of a lively bunch] Aiming to become an international lawyer through practical experience learning the divergence between law and the real world in Ghana

Hakumon CHUOIndex

The spring of a lively bunch

Aiming to become an international lawyer through practical experience learning the divergence between law and the real world in Ghana

Yoichiro Sugitate
Faculty of Law (Tokyo Gakugei University Senior High School graduate)

Yoichiro Sugitate

"I had an enjoyable student life and I am grateful to those around me," says Mr. Sugitate when he takes an honest look back at his four years at Chuo University. Mr. Sugitate has wanted to be a lawyer since he first entered university, and because he wanted practical experience, he took a break from his National Bar Examination studies. During this time he went overseas on the Motivation Support Scholarship, and by coming into contact with practical "law", he was able to really get a grasp of his dream.

With that, he had a way to face the National Bar Examination with new feeling and a challenge to become an international lawyer.

Sugitate, who originally longed to be a lawyer, belonged to the Legal Profession Research Laboratory in the Tower of Light and the Hakuko-kai from his first year. "There was an environment where I could always study, so I could study in my own way." Then, for a month in the summer holidays of his first year, he went on a short language exchange program to Carleton University in Minnesota, USA. This was a watershed moment for him.

Looking back, he says, "I think that if I didn't have the courage to go to America at that time, I wouldn't have had the courage to go to Ghana either." During the summer holidays of his third year, this time for two months in the general section of the Motivation Support Scholarship, he participated in NGO activities in Ghana. "I wanted to study away from the National Bar Examination, I want to undertake work experience," he says about his motivation.

Through his own Internet search, Sugitate came across an NGO based in England called Project Abroad, which sends students from advanced nations to developing countries. Then he telephoned the NGO directly, and after getting advice from Professor Yukio Saigusa from the Faculty of Law, he went ahead with his plans for NGO activities in Ghana.

"My activities in Ghana included listening to and summarizing stories on the state of human trafficking in children in Ghana from parents who had sold their children and from children who had been rescued. We would convey their stories to the Ghanaian Ministry of Health as a legislative fact that can be useful for law maintenance."

Despite laws cracking down on human trafficking in Ghana, he saw with his very own eyes the actual condition where the law and the real world were far apart, to an extent that the police weren't enforcing those laws. "In Japan, I hadn't really felt the existence of laws, but in Ghana, I got to learn of the existence of laws again."

"By opening my eyes up overseas, I noticed how narrow my own thinking was. There are various professions in society, and I thought it wouldn't be the end of the world if I were to fail the National Bar Examination." As he widened the scope of his vision enough to be able to choose freely his own career, he thought, "I want to try to be a lawyer one more time," with a fresh feeling. Then, he decided to go to law school and applied himself to his studies.

This spring, Sugitate advanced to the Chuo Law School. He will concentrate his studies on the National Bar Examination and says, "I also want to go to graduate school in America." He hopes to become an international lawyer.

In a final word to his juniors, Sugitate comments, "I want you to develop yourself by always finding goals through doing something. I want you to challenge yourself with the things you can only do now."