/ News, Events

Book Launch and Salon-Discussion with Prof. Toshiki Mogami

On April 3, 2024, Prof. em. Toshiki Mogami, Visiting Professor at the Institute for European Global Studies and former Professor of International Law and Organization at the International Christian University, Tokyo, and Waseda University introduced his latest book “After International Law” in a Salon Discussion at the Institute for European Global Studies in Basel.

To commence his talk, Prof. Mogami reflected on the spark that ignited the desire to be an international lawyer and scholar. He narrated a story beginning with a childhood desire to become a medical doctor which was later transformed by an encounter with a randomly selected international politics textbook in a second-hand bookstore. He revealed how the book not only inspired him but ultimately propelled him to a career in international law.

Prof. Mogami’s book is inspired by his view of international law as a strange law in need of reconstruction. He postulates that the necessity to reconstruct international law is founded on its apparent lack of legitimacy and ineffectiveness. The ineffectiveness, he declares, is exemplified by the inability of international law to address contemporary international issues such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Gaza. In his book, Prof. Mogami addresses topics such as the oddity of international law as a patchwork of laws with myriad violations, its uncertainty as a result of its structure and overall hypotheses and the tendency to allow powerful states to prevail in the international arena. He argues that the uncertainty of international law is further perpetuated by the omnipresent countervailing norms, such as the use of force as both an act of aggression and self-defence. In his book, the author proposes a move from the current international law to an exploration of what law should be.

In the ensuing debate, this claim by the author as well as the interdisciplinary approaches needed in order to properly engage with international law were discussed by an interdisciplinary audience of members and students from the Institute for European Global Studies.

The Salon discussions serve to promote informal exchanges between guests and members and students of the Institute.

Prof. em. Toshiki Mogami (Ph.D. in Law, University of Tokyo) is Visiting Professor at the Institute for European Global Studies, specialized in International Law and Organization. He has taught for more than three decades at the International Christian University, Tokyo, where he was also Director of the Peace Research Institute and the Rotary Peace Center for many years. In the meantime, he was Visiting Researcher at Columbia University, New York, a private peace research institute in Sweden, and at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg. He was also president of a few academic organizations in Japan.