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Interesting Lectures and Seminars

Bankruptcy Law
—Objective response to reality—

Yohei Tanahashi, March 2010 Graduate from the School of Law
Ayako Yamada, 4th Year Student at the School of Law

The phenomenon of bankruptcy is filling the headlines, extending even to companies which are known as leading corporations. However, the recent rush of bankruptcies is not limited to major corporations. There is an endless line of bankruptcy among mid and small-sized corporations, as well as among individuals. Whether we like it or not, we students are bound to become acquainted with bankruptcy at some point after our graduation.

When a debtor has actually fallen into the condition of bankruptcy, there are many cases in which “voluntary debt adjustment” is performed. Voluntary debt adjustment is settlement performed by consultation between the debtor and creditor. However, this form of settlement is limited to the range of private autonomy and has absolutely no binding force. Voluntary debt adjustment is subject to problems such as opacity of procedures and unfairness. Therefore, there is the need for a system of organizational bankruptcy settlement that is legally binding and which possesses both public power and binding force. In this course, students study bankruptcy procedure, which is a legal system for bankruptcy settlement.

In the course, students first gain an understanding of the overall perspective of bankruptcy procedures, as well the mutual relationship between procedures. Then, students examine individual problems in accordance with the flow of procedures. Focus is placed on settlement-type bankruptcy procedures and on reconstruction-type civil rehabilitation procedures.

Professor Ken Yamamoto is praised by students as being thorough and easy to understand. The course is attended not only by students seeking a career in the legal profession, but also students interested in a career in finance. Classes are held in a large classroom, but the room is packed with students and seats closest to the teacher are quickly filled.

I believe that the popularity of the class is due to the style of the lectures. The instructor does not force a specific opinion on the students. The aim of the instructor is to explain, not to assert.

Of course, it is not wrong to conduct a lecture with an assertive style. However, I believe that the opportunity for students to freely consider matters creates a lecture of great meaning. For example, the lectures are filled with chances for students to find answers by thinking independently. This style of lecture elicits the potential of students.

In this way, Instructor Yamamoto avoids assertion as much as possible. The instructor rarely discusses value judgments based upon his own way of thinking. Rather, Instructor Yamamoto explains in a detached tone the various theories which exist. By avoiding the discussion of personal value judgments, the instructor develops students by eliciting their autonomy and freedom of thinking.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)