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2019 Autumn Issue

A Fulfilling Summer--the 4th Visit to Taiwan

Legal debate session with students from National Taipei University

Professor Makoto Arai’s seminar
Faculty of Law

From August 19 to 22, 2019, students from Chuo University visited Taiwan for a study tour. Undergraduate students from Professor Arai's seminar in the Faculty of Law and a graduate student from the adult guardianship and trust seminar taught by Professor Arai in the Graduate School of Law participated and interacted with students from National Taipei University through activities such as a legal debate session. This joint seminar has continued since the 2016 academic year. In addition to deepening their consideration and knowledge of law, students were given opportunities to experience the culture and lifestyle of Taiwan. As such, this four-day period in the summer was a meaningful experience in terms of both learning and leisure. In this article, one of the seminar students Sakiko Okamoto reports on the joint seminar. Chuo University and National Taipei University entered into an academic exchange agreement in May 2017.

Considering a voluntary guardianship system
--Report from study tour in Taiwan

Sakiko Okamoto
3rd-Year Student, Faculty of Law
Member of Professor Makoto Arai's seminar

Active legal debate session with students from National Taipei University

Students from Chuo University and National Taipei University actively discussed issues such as voluntary guardianship systems.

On August 20, a group of twelve students (eleven seminar students and one graduate student) from Chuo University visited National Taipei University in New Taipei City and engaged in a legal debate on the theme of a voluntary guardianship system.

Actually, prior to this study tour, instructors from National Taipei University were invited to Chuo University and a study session was held on the differences between guardianship systems in the two countries. Based on the results of that study session, a debate was held during the study tour in Taiwan, in which we discussed problems and future prospects in regards to voluntary guardianship systems.

In a voluntary guardianship system, a person who is still in full command of his or her judgment appoints a voluntary guardian who will handle matters related to property management after that person's judgment ability declines, and then sign a contract to grant the right to represent. In Japan, the Act on Voluntary Guardianship Contract, etc. was enacted in 1999.

Meanwhile, in Taiwan, the law on voluntary guardianship just came into effect in June 2019. In Japan, legal precedents have already been established in regards to the voluntary guardianship system, and there also are several points of dispute. During our debate, we discussed whether such disputes will also occur in Taiwan in the future, and if so, how the differences between the Japanese and Taiwanese systems will impact the outcome.

One issue which we debated was how to define the ability required to enter into a voluntary guardianship contract. For example, in both Japan and Taiwan, a shift from voluntary guardianship to statutory guardianship is possible. In the statutory guardianship system, the family court appoints a guardian, etc., for those who have already lost or lack judgment ability. In a sense, transitioning from a system for those who still possess judgment ability to a system for those who have lost judgment ability is natural.

However, there is also the question of whether the opposite pattern is possible. In other words, is a shift from statutory guardianship to voluntary guardianship also possible? In Japan, statutory guardianship is divided into three stages depending on the level of judgment ability, and it is possible to shift to voluntary guardianship if he/she has a contracting ability.

However, this shift is an issue in Taiwan. The shift to voluntary guardianship is not possible if entering into a contract is precluded due to the person's judgment ability having been already declined. However, assuming it is possible to enter into a contract, there is no clear provision addressing the details in Taiwanese law. Currently, Taiwan is at the stage of paying close attention to how Taiwan's legal professionals and general public will accept and react to the guardianship system.

Even if you believe experiencing decrease or loss in your judgment ability will still be far in the future, once that time comes, you will face difficult legal issues between self-determination and the public interest of legal stability. I found it very interesting to consider this point, especially when considering that Japan is now an ultra-aging society. Upon returning to Chuo University, I would like to further deepen my knowledge in the seminar.

During the study tour, all participants were involved in preparing and making presentations. We asked each other questions and held discussion both during and after the debate session. Instructors at National Taipei University passionately gave us explanations, and we had a very meaningful discussion.

Reuniting with Taiwanese students who previously studied abroad at Chuo University; visiting the High Court and a nursing home

For an approximately one-year period from autumn 2018 to summer 2019, three international students from Taiwan studying at Chuo University participated in the Professor Arai's seminar. During our visit to Taiwan this time, we were reunited with the three Taiwanese students and had the opportunity to participate together in the legal debate session.

On the afternoon of the 20th and on the 21st, the three Taiwanese students and an instructor from National Taipei University took us to the Taiwanese High Court, a nursing home, and tourist attractions. The Taiwanese students and instructors were very fluent in Japanese, while most of the participating Japanese students could only speak Japanese. We felt sorry for our lack of ability to communicate in their native language. We were also very grateful for all their hospitality, including their arranging for our transportation.

On the 21st, we visited a nursing home Taipei Happy Mount Colony in New Taipei City and received a guided tour of the facilities from staff members. Previously a sanatorium for the treatment of Hansen's disease, it is now used to care for the elderly and people with disabilities. One room which we visited was used for painting by a group of people with disabilities. All the artists expressed themselves vividly through their paintings, and the works were even used as patterns on the t-shirts worn by staff members.

Some of the artists have even won awards at an international exhibition held in Japan once a year. All the paintings were truly wonderful and I will always remember the cheerful expressions of the artists. We learned details regarding the relationship between people with disabilities and adult guardianship in Taiwan, as well as the related support process.

Students visited the Taiwanese High Court and had valuable experiences such as listening to proceedings and wearing legal uniforms

Savoring delicious Taiwanese cuisine

We also visited a night market, the famous scenic town Jiufen, and the restaurant Din Tai Fung, which is famous for its soup dumplings. Throughout our travels, we enjoyed so many delicious foods. Tapioca drinks were sold wherever we went, and the highest prices I saw were only about 200 yen. I enjoyed tapioca drinks from a variety of shops. Personally, I think of Taiwan as a country of tapioca!

The city of Taipei is a mixture of the old and the new. As I gazed at the cityscape through the windows of our bus, I would suddenly see a historic castle gate. Next, I would find myself enjoying panoramic views from the observation deck of Taipei 101, a building with the world's fastest elevator. It was an extremely fulfilling study tour also in terms of experiencing both urban development and ancient history/culture.

Schedule in Taiwan

August 19, 2019
Departed from Narita International Airport and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in the afternoon.
In the evening, strolled through Ningxia Road Night Market.

August 20
Participated in a legal debate at National Taipei University.
Visited attractions such as the High Court, National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, Taipei 101, etc.

August 21
Visited the nursing home Taipei Happy Mount Colony.
Spent the afternoon strolling through Jiufen with students and an instructor from National Taipei University.

August 22
Departed from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and returned to Narita International Airport.

Participants (1 professor and 12 students)

Professor Makoto Arai
Kazuma Murata (Graduate student)
Lee Junhyeong (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Ryosuke Okuda (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Remii Saito (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Maki Sakagami (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Miku Sakamoto (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Junya Nishizaki (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Bo Wen (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Seiya Hino (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Yuuki Masuko (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Mariko Murata (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)
Sakiko Okamoto (3rd Year, Faculty of Law)

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