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Honorary doctorate for Hisashi Owada

University of Groningen honours President of the International Court of Justice
19 May 2009

In celebration of its 395th anniversary, on 5 June 2009 the University of Groningen will be awarding a double honorary doctorate to Prof. Hisashi Owada, President of the International Court of Justice in the Hague and Professor of Japan-European Relations at the University of Leiden.

On the occasion of its 395th anniversary, the University of Groningen will honour Judge Owada by awarding him an honorary doctorate in the Arts in the field to which he has contributed so much both on a personal level and through his many publications – international relations, particularly the relations between Japan on the one hand and the Netherlands and the European Union on the other. At the same time, Hisashi Owada will be awarded an honorary doctorate in Law for his contributions to international law.

President of the International Court of Justice

Hisashi Owada was born in 1932 in Niigata in Japan. After gaining degrees at the Universities of Tokyo and Cambridge, he worked for the Japanese Foreign Service as an ambassador, permanent representative of Japan at the OECD in Paris, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and later again as ambassador and permanent representative of Japan at the United Nations in New York. Owada contributed significantly to the drawing up of various UN declarations and agreements, including the Declaration of Friendly Relations and the Convention on the Law of the Sea. He also played an active role in the creation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Owada joined the International Court of Justice in 2003 as a judge and was appointed President in 2009.

Academic achievements

Hisashi Owada has also been actively involved in academia all his life, as a professor of law and international relations. He was an Associate Professor at the University of Tokyo for 25 years and also a full-time professor at Waseda University. He has also taught at several other eminent academic institutions, from Harvard to Columbia and New York University. He has also published numerous books and articles. One of his most recent publications is connected with the University of Groningen – an analysis of national identity in post-war Japan. This work appeared in 2008 in a collection of essays edited by the Director of the Center for Japanese Studies, Prof. Rien T. Segers.

Advocate of links between Japan and Europe

As one of the planners of Japanese foreign policy, Ambassador Owada was a strong advocate of improving relations between Japan and the European Union. He was the architect of the joint declaration by the European Commission and Japan in 1990, which formed the basis for the construction of a holistic relationship between the EU and Japan.

Two European countries have already honoured Owada for his work in the field of Japanese-European relations – France by decorating him with the Légion d’Honneur (Officer) and Germany with the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.

Note for the press

More information:
- Prof. Rien Segers, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Groningen, tel. 050-363 79 88, e-mail m.t.m.segers
- Prof. Leon Verstappen, Dean of the Faculty of Law, tel. 050-363 5762, e-mail: l.c.a.verstappen

Last modified:15 September 2017 3.27 p.m.
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