At a press conference held at the Japan National Press Club today at 2:00 p.m., the Independent Investigation Commission on the Japanese Government’s Response to COVID-19 (COVID-19 Independent Investigation Commission) released its Investigation Report, which reviewed the government’s response to COVID-19 to date. 7 lawyers from Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu (NO&T) participated in the project, as part of the firm’s pro bono activities. Prior to the press conference, this morning, the COVID-19 Independent Investigation Commission also submitted the Investigation Report to Prime Minister Suga, making policy recommendations based on its review of the government’s response to COVID-19 to date. (For details, please refer to the Asia Pacific Initiative website (Japanese)).
With the aim of “better preparing for the next major COVID-19 wave and a more severe pandemic that may follow,” the COVID-19 Independent Investigation Commission has been reviewing the government’s response to the first wave. The Commission has been reviewing “best practices, such as what went wrong, why, and what were the challenges” among the government’s initiatives to date, “from a private sector perspective, independent from the government.”(excerpts from the preface of the Investigation Report).
NO&T strongly endorsed the significance of the review, and our entire office supported the project. The COVID-19 Independent Investigation Commission is a project consisting of a working group of 19 experts in specific fields under a committee consisting of 4 experts who are leaders in their respective fields and who possess a high level of expertise and insight. In addition to Mr. Akihisa Shiozaki, who served as co-chair, and Mr. Tsubasa Watanabe, who served as vice co-chair, Mr. Takeho Ujino, Mr. Tomohiro Hen, Mr. Kenta Isshiki, Mr. Yu Yuasa, and Mr. Takumi Naito were also involved in the working group on a pro bono basis. All of these lawyers have extensive experience in handling matters such as those involving corporate crises management and fraud investigation. Their insight was leveraged in conducting an in-depth investigation and analysis. NO&T also designated the project as an official NO&T pro bono project, and allocated office resources such as secretarial staff, meeting rooms, and library facilities at no cost.
The Investigation Report is scheduled to be published on October 23, 2020 (October 18 for the e-book) by Discover 21, Inc. In addition, an English translation of the Investigation Report will be published in the future. It is hoped that the Investigation Report will aid future efforts to deal with COVID-19.
As a leading Japanese law firm, NO&T will continue to actively promote socially meaningful pro bono activities in the future.