News: Law professionals share expertise during social
Story by Lance Cpl. Ian McMahon
CAMP FOSTER, Japan — Members of the Okinawa Bench and Bar Association hosted a social at the Ocean Breeze here Nov. 16.
The OBBA is a private organization open to any individuals who practice law in Okinawa. The group promotes mutual understanding and professional exchanges of ideas, typically through social events.
The social attracted legal professionals from all over Okinawa to take advantage of the opportunity to speak in an open forum about recent events, share experiences, and exchange law practice ideas.
“The main focus of the meeting was to facilitate a stronger relationship between the Japanese’s legal system and the U.S. military’s system,” said 1st Lt. Alec Pourteau, the organizer of the social and foreign criminal jurisdiction officer for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
Before arriving at the social, Japanese attendees received a tour of the legal services support section from members of the SJA’s office.
“This allowed the guests to see a little of the inner workings of LSSS,” said Pourteau.
Once the tour was completed, the group moved to the Ocean Breeze to mingle with various legal members from the military branches, discuss different methods for cooperation, and build new networks with each other.
“We have based much of our judicial system after the U.S.,” said Junichi Oshiro, a Japanese attorney and OBBA member. “It is important that we communicate and learn from each other.”
Information shared at the socials can give insight into how to better handle future cases.
After welcoming the U.S. military and Japanese guests, Darren S. Jump, the guest speaker at the social and the counsel for the Pacific Area, set the tone as his speech touched on recent local issues and the need to continuously improve ties between U.S. and Japanese legal practices.
“The subject of my remarks is ‘Our Island Home,’ and I see acts of courtesy every day here on my island home,” said Jump. “These acts are essential to living at peace on the island. Realize that there will be times when members of the U.S. armed forces violate the laws of Japan, and that will require legal professionals, including myself, to rededicate ourselves to public service and work together to the best of our abilities under the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security.”
Following the speech, the OBBA awarded Jump with a certificate of gratitude.
“The OBBA is a long-standing organization that has been here longer than I have,” said Jump. “I’m just thankful I was given a chance to speak to its members.”
The OBBA hosts the social annually, but for some, once a year is not often enough as local lawyers or service members always walk away with new knowledge and experiences.
“I wish we could meet more often,” said Oshiro. “The shared experience is invaluable.”