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Former Japan Supreme Court Justice to Lecture Oct. 6

A former member of the Supreme Court of Japan will speak about that country's Supreme Court system in a special lecture at Plattsburgh State University of New York on Monday, Oct. 6.

Justice Itsuo Sonobe will appear at Plattsburgh State from 1 to 2:30 p.m. in the Cardinal Lounge of the Angell College Center. His visit, which is being sponsored by the Asian Studies Committee and the Presidents' Speakers Series at the College, is free and open to the public.

Justice Sonobe served the 15-member Japanese Supreme Court for nearly 10 years. A full-time judge for 25 years in various lower courts, Justice Sonobe was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1989. The fact that he was once a law clerk while he was young assisting Supreme Court justices proves that he was destined to become an elite career judge, marked for very high positions within the judiciary.

Justice Sonobe holds a doctorate in administrative law from the University of Kyoto and taught for a total of 20 years at three universities. He combined his experiences both as judge and professor in many of his court opinions.

As a scholar, he has published eight books mostly on administrative law, co-authored five books, edited 13 others and contributed as more than 80 articles to legal journals. His most recent book is a reflections of judicial decision-making and includes a collection of opinions he wrote as a Supreme Court justice.

After retiring from the bench in 1999, Justice Sonobe became a legal counselor in administrative disputes. He is a leading attorney in a major case in which banks in Tokyo sued the metropolitan government of Tokyo challenging a metropolitan corporate tax ordinance. He and his team scored the first victory at a trial court.
Justice Sonobe is a legal counsel to the Japanese Foreign Minister on legal aspects of foreign policy making. He has traveled extensively overseas comparing courts and judges in Asia, the United States and Europe.

A former visiting researcher at Colombia University and the University of Michigan, his current lecture circuit includes law schools at Columbia University, Georgetown University and the University of Colorado.

The Presidents' Speakers Series is funded by the presidents of Plattsburgh State, the Student Association and College Auxiliary Services.

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