2020 Polar Law Symposium The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions

2020 Polar Law Symposium
The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions

23-25 November 2020
Kobe University Rokkodai Campus

Polar Law Symposium comes to Kobe, Japan!

Polar Cooperation Research Centre (PCRC) of Kobe University is proud to join the Polar Law Institute (University of Akureyri, Iceland), the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law – Arctic Centre (University of Lapland, Finland), the University of the Arctic and its Arctic Law Thematic Network (Finland) to host the 2020 Polar Law Symposium. This will be the first time the event is being held in Asia in its 13-year history.

Academics, students, indigenous representatives and practitioners from around the world will attend and participate in this event, which will discuss on the implications and challenges faced by both the Arctic and the Antarctic for international law and policy. 2020 PLS Kobe is under the main theme of “The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions” with distinctively bi-polar and “mid-latitude” perspectives. The symposium will focus on the following themes (with additional proposals) and be discussion oriented:

  • International rule of law in polar regions
  • Policy-law-science nexus in polar regions
  • Protecting marine and terrestrial polar environments
  • Humans and human security in polar regions
  • Resources and industries in polar regions
  • The law of the sea and the polar regions
Presentation file for 2020 PLS Kobe
(shown at 12th Polar Law Symposium at Hobart on 4 December 2019).
Flyer of PLS Kobe

Call for abstracts now open!

Abstracts: deadline 31 March 2020
Early-career/indigenous scholars travel assistance requests: deadline 31 March 2020

Please carefully read the call paper, by downloading it from here.

The Planning Committee encourages a focused discussion in each panel on a common theme with a distinctively bi-polar perspective. The Committee will also accept broad topics and methodologies under such common themes. For the first time in its 13-year history, the 2020 Polar Law Symposium is held in a non-Arctic or non-Antarctic gateway country. Therefore, the “mid-latitude” perspective in all discussions is very much welcomed. When submitting an abstract, please choose a panel the objective of which best fits the theme of your abstract. You can find the description of each panel on the call paper downloadable from the link below.

Proposals for new panels are encouraged. In this case, the proposal should clearly indicate the title of the proposed panel, at least four (4) presentations within the panel with the titles and concise abstracts for each of them, as well as the names of the presenters (all in 700 words limit). The Planning Committee reserves its right to request further information and/or abstracts before making its decision.

From those accepted abstracts/panel proposals, Kobe PCRC will offer full or partial travel assistance to selected early-career scholars and indigenous participants. For selection purposes, early-career scholars and indigenous participants seeking for travel assistance from Kobe PCRC are encouraged to submit a longer version nearing the maximum limit (700 words) so that they can provide the main argument of your proposed presentation.

Please use the model abstract format, by downloading it from here.

Please submit your abstracts/panel proposals through the dedicated submission portal: JTB website

Important dates

5 December 2019 2020 PLS Kobe website open
5 December 2019 Call for abstracts open
31 March 2020 Deadline for abstracts and requests for travel assistance
30 May 2020 Notification of results on abstracts and travel assistance requests
1 June 2020 Registration starts
31 August 2020 Early bird registration/presenters registration ends

Program Overview

23 November (Monday, holiday)

Opening ceremony
Plenary session:“The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions”
Parallel panels
Welcome reception at Sakura Restaurant, Kobe University main campus

24 November (Tuesday)

Special Session:“ASM-3 Outcome: Its legal and policy implications”
Plenary Session:“Policy-Law-Science Nexus in Polar Regions”
Parallel Panels
Conference dinner at Shushinkan, Sake brewery restaurant in Nada area

25 November (Wednesday)

Plenary session [TBD]
11:00–12:30; 14:00–17:30
Parallel Panels

Opening Addresses, 23 November [TBC]
Hiroshi Takeda, President, Kobe University
Takuji Nakamura, Director-General, National Institute of Polar Research, Japan

Keynote Speakers [TBC]
Plenary session, 23 November: “The Rule of Law in the Polar Regions”
Masataka Okano, Director-General, International Legal Affairs Bureau, MOFA, Japan
Special Session, 24 November: “ASM-3 Outcome: Its legal and policy implications”
Senior Arctic Official of Iceland

*Please note the following Arctic related events are planned.
Arctic Circle Japan Forum: 20 and 23 November in Tokyo
Third Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM-3): 21-22 November in Tokyo

Venue and Access

IDEMITSU SAZO Memorial Rokkodai Auditorium, Kobe University Rokkodai Campus
Address: 2-1, Rokkodai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe, 657-8501, JAPAN

Accommodation and Travel Information

When the registration is opened in June 2020, the organizing committee will recommend a few convenient hotels in Kobe to attend the symposium. For invited speakers to be determined later and selected early-career/indigenous scholars with travel assistance, the organizer will arrange the accommodation and directly pay to the hotel.

Hosts & Sponsors



Convenor of the 2020 PLS Kobe:
Akiho Shibata, Director, Kobe PCRC

Advisory Committee:
Gudmundur Alfredsson (University of Akureyri, Iceland)
Timo Koivurova (University of Lapland, Finland)
Julia Jabour (University of Tasmania, Australia)

Planning Committee:
Akiho Shibata, Chair (Kobe PCRC)
Hiroyuki Enomoto (Arctic Environmental Research Center, National Institute of Polar Research, Japan)
Kentaro Nishimoto (School of Law, Tohoku University, Japan)
Nikolas Sellheim (Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, University of Helsinki, Finland)
Indi Hodgson-Johnston (Institute of Marine & Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia)

Local Organising Committee:
Akiho Shibata, Chair (Kobe PCRC)
Yohei Okada (Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies (GSICS), Kobe University)
Osamu Inagaki (Researcher, Polar Cooperation Research Centre, Kobe University)
Sakiko Hataya (Ph.D student, GSICS, Kobe University)
Fajar Ajie Setiawan (Ph.D. student, GSICS, Kobe University)

Guest Editors for Yearbook of Polar Law Vol.13:
Indi Hodgson-Johnston
Nikolas Sellheim
Akiho Shibata

Wakako Masuda (Polaris Secretaries Office Co., Ltd.)
Rika Ishikura (Travel Lab. Partners LLC)


For inquiries regarding the symposium generally and for abstract submission,
please send an e-mail to:2020_pls_kobe@2020polarlawsymposium.org