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VOICE No. 35


Yasuhiro Miyaki

Nagoya University Graduate School of Law

My favorite saying: Although nobody can endure their own pain, everyone can endure the pain of others.


Q: Why did you choose this saying?

This saying was bestowed upon me by my professor, a former judge, shortly after I advanced to graduate school. Each criminal case has a number of parties involved―suspects or defendants and victims―and all of them have their own families and other people in their lives. This saying gives me the opportunity to reflect on myself to make sure that, when considering how to deal with crimes that (may) have occurred in the real world, I am not unconsciously disregarding someone in the name of justice and human rights.


With the students in my seminar, though, I offer a franker motto: “Keep your eyes and ears open, work super hard, and play super hard.” Keeping your eyes and ears open is how you pick up all sorts of information, even if it’s not of interest to you right now. This is also a lesson to myself, because I have in the past missed chances to discover a new person in myself due to my own prejudices. “Work hard, play hard” may be cliché, but saying “super hard” here means a lot. No matter how old I become, I want to do my absolute best with my seminar students, both in studies and in fun.




Gathering of his seminar group alumni (Kyu-yu-kai) in October 2018


Q: What kind of research are you doing?

I am doing research on how criminal proceedings function. In particular, I am conducting comparative law research focusing on legal frameworks for undercover investigations and support for crime victims. The term “undercover investigation” may be unfamiliar to many people. Undercover investigations like in Western countries are not common in Japan, but we do implement a tactic known as entrapment, particularly in drug crimes. Sting operation is a practice in which criminal investigators or their collaborators conceal their identities and intentions and trick someone into committing a crime, whereupon they arrest the criminal red-handed. Sting operation is often used in drug-related crimes because the secretive and systematic nature of these crimes makes it difficult to arrest people involved. Left unchecked, these crimes will ultimately destroy the minds and bodies of those who use drugs. However, this practice also requires caution, because the state lures someone into committing a crime. Arresting and punishing people who never should have been punished is not only meaningless, but outright unacceptable. Given that entrapment is a double-edged sword, we must tackle the question of what kind of rules should govern its use.


Q: How did you get into this research?

When I was wondering what I should do after graduating from university, the professor of my seminar group suggested that I study at graduate school. Honestly, at that time I didn’t realize that research and seminars are two sides of the same coin. It was less that I wanted to do research and more that I wanted to do seminars.




 Leading a seminar early in his career at Nagoya University


Q: What moments do you feel that research is interesting or rewarding?

When I find a new challenging issue! And when I spend days thinking about an issue, agonizing over my own lack of confidence in my own ideas, and then come across other countries’ legal precedents and theories that spark ideas in me—it’s like a sign that the fog is clearing away. These sorts of moments make me think that research is interesting and rewarding.


 Q: After the legal age of majority was lowered from 20 to 18, making it possible for high school students to be selected as lay judges, you produced “Criminal Procedures: Investigations,” a comprehensive educational video. Are there any stories you can tell us about producing the video? Any difficulties or memorable anecdotes?

What inspired me to make this video was my experience at the 33rd Law Practical Technique Education Support Seminar at the PSIM Consortium in June 2019. In this seminar, I introduced the practical learning exercises my seminar students are engaged in, including mock trial, mock interrogations, and mock interviews, and had discussions with other professors. This experience strengthened my desire to develop educational materials that used realistic stories to teach criminal and civil procedure. So, on my way home on the bullet train, I emailed the other professors to ask them to collaborate with me on this project. By the time the train arrived at Nagoya Station, I had received replies saying, “Sounds interesting. Let’s do it!” I still vividly remember how encouraged their replies made me feel. I originally planned to publish a book, but on a whim, I changed my mind and decided to produce a video instead. I felt bad about jerking the other professors around like that, but I saw potential in this time and space, where specialists from different fields and positions understood the purpose and worked to produce the video.


The videos have been released to the public.
Full version in Japanese with English subtitles (42 min 27 sec):  





At a mock courtroom at Nagoya University



At a crime victim support symposium at Aichi Prefectural Library



Film shoot of the educational video


Q: Please tell us about an experience that you can only talk about now. 

On the first day of filming this video, after we had finished the morning shoot, I found a scene that I just wasn’t satisfied with. The actors had already left the filming location, but I asked the producer to call them to ask them to let us reshoot the scene. In the end, we reshot almost the entire scene. The actors kindly told me that they also wanted to make a video that I would be satisfied with. It was a big relief to hear that.


Q: How do you spend your days off? What do you do to recharge?

On my days off, I recharge by going on drives with my family, going to the beach to observe tidepool ecology, and eating out with former students.


Q: What are your goals and ambitions for the future?

I’m grateful that so many people have watched our video “Criminal Procedures: Investigations,” and we have received feedback from all sorts of people. Our next plan is to release “Criminal Procedures: Trials,” the second part of this video series, in the spring of 2023. Now is the time when the lay judge system, which has been criticized as being rootless and adrift, is entering a new phase. I hope our video will provide people with the opportunity to rethink what it means for one person to pass judgment upon another. With this hope in mind, I will work hard without any compromise. As for my research, I will continue to work hard together with my students, and I’m planning on producing a monograph by compiling my previously published research on undercover investigation in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany and adding Australia and Canada.




Fishing for Japanese sea bass with his students (left)  At Adventure World with his family (right)



At a stream in Gifu Prefecture with his family


Name: Yasuhiro Miyaki

Department: Nagoya University Graduate School of Law

Title: Professor


He became a full-time lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Toyo University in April 2007, then an associate professor in April 2010. He then moved to the Graduate School of Law at Nagoya University, starting as an associate professor in April 2011 before becoming a professor in April 2017. He has also served as a Ministry of Justice bar examiner (Code of Criminal Procedure) since June 2017; a member of Aichi Prefecture Bureau of Disaster Prevention and Security’s Aichi Prefecture Advisory Committee on Support for Crime Victims since June 2021; a trustee of the Japanese Association of Victimology since June 2022; and a guest professor at Saint Petersburg State University in Russia since September 2022.

His hobbies include taking care of tropical fish and coral.   



A coral and fish tank at his house