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Book Talk with Lawrence Repeta – Japan’s Prisoners of Conscience: Protest and Law During the Iraq War

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 @ 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

Book talk with Lawrence Repeta of Meiji University on September 20th at 12:45pm in Room 145 at Berkeley Law School.

Lunch option will be available while supplies last. 

Publisher and book info here.

When the Administration of George W. Bush demanded Japanese “boots on the ground” to support its 2003 invasion of Iraq, Prime Minister Jun’ichiro Koizumi responded by deploying a small contingent of Self-Defense Forces in the first significant display of SDF force abroad. On the day following deployment, three antiwar protesters distributed flyers at SDF apartment buildings in Tachikawa. These protesters were arrested shortly after and detained for 75 days. Amnesty International called the Japanese detainees “Prisoners of Conscience,” the first time such a term has been applied to Japan.

This case presented a severe test for Japan’s criminal justice system. Who would stand up to support the lonely trio? Would they find adequate defense counsel and how would the lawyers be paid? Would the courts recognize constitutional protection for political speech? Repeta will discuss these questions in the context of his new book Japan’s Prisoners of Conscience: Protest and Law During the Iraq War (Routledge, 2023), taking participants behind the scenes of Japan’s courtrooms and introducing the lawyers and advocates who rallied to defend the protestors.

Lawrence Repeta is a graduate of the University of Washington Law School. He has served as a lawyer, business executive and law professor in Japan and the United States. The primary focus of his research is Japan’s constitutional law. He is best known in Japan as the plaintiff in a suit that made constitutional history by opening Japan’s courts to free reporting. He has served on the board of directors of Information Clearinghouse Japan, an NGO devoted to promoting open government in Japan, and the Japan Civil Liberties Union.


Wednesday, September 20, 2023
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm
Event Category:


Center for the Study of Law and Society
Sho Sato Program in Japanese and US Law
Center for Japanese Studies
Legal Studies


145 Law Building

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