Hisashi Owada

Hisashi Owada (Japanese小 和田 恒, Hisashi Owada, born September 18, 1932 in Niigata Prefecture ) is a Japanese diplomat and a judge on the International Court of Justice since 2003 and was its president, he worked from 6 February 2009 to 5th February 2012. His daughter Masako is married to Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan and thus currently Princess of Japan.


Hisashi Owada graduated from Tokyo University in 1955 with a Bachelor of Arts and then went to the University of Cambridge, where he in 1956 acquired his Bachelor of Laws.

In 1955, he joined the Japanese Foreign Service. From 1968 to 1971 he was First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations and then to 1972, private secretary of the Japanese Foreign Minister Takeo Fukuda. Following this, he directed until 1974, responsible for the United Nations Department in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and until 1976 the Department of international treaties. From 1976 to 1978 Hisashi Owada was again private secretary to Takeo Fukuda, who had assumed the office of Prime Minister of Japan on 24 December 1976. After working at the embassies in Washington, DC (1979-1981) and Moscow (1981-1984), he was in 1984 appointed General Counsel in the Japanese Foreign Ministry and had this post until 1987. He was subsequently 1988-1989 Permanent Representative of Japan to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). From 1989 to 1991 he served as Deputy Minister in the Japanese Foreign Ministry and from 1991 to 1993 as deputy foreign minister. Until 1998, he was then working as a permanent representative of Japan to the United Nations from 1999 to 2003 as an advisor to the Japanese foreign minister.

Throughout his career, Hisashi Owada represented his country at numerous international conferences. He was, for example, head of the Japanese delegation at the negotiations on the establishment of the International Criminal Court ( 1998). He was also from 1999 to 2003 President of the Japan Institute of International Affairs, and from 1999 to 2003 chief advisor to the President of the World Bank, since 2001 he is a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration. On February 6, 2003 Hisashi Owada assumed his current role as a judge on the International Court of Justice in The Hague, his term of office expires, after his reelection in November 2011, as scheduled until, 2021., After six years at the Court he was born on 6 February 2009 on the elected President and thus replaced the retiring judge Rosalyn Higgins. He was the first Japanese president in the history of the Court. His term ended on February 5, 2012.

In addition to his diplomatic career Hisashi Owada held steady contact with scientists. He taught at Harvard University, the University of Tokyo, New York University, Columbia University, Waseda University and the Hague Academy of International Law. In addition, since 2002 he is an academic advisor at the University of Hiroshima and since 2006 Honorary Professor at the University of Leiden.


Hisashi Owada has won several awards for his achievements. The Keiwa University ( 2000), the Banaras Hindu University (2001) and Waseda University (2004) awarded him an honorary doctorate. He is also since 1995 Member of the Institut de Droit International and since 2006 Honorary Member of the American Society of International Law. In 1990, the Jordanian Al- Istiqlal Medal he was awarded the first degree, he was appointed Officier de la Légion d' Honneur and in 1994 awarded the Federal Cross of Merit in 1992.

Works (selection)

Hisashi Owada is the author of numerous works on international law:

  • Diplomacy Reconsidered: Essay on the Re Examination of a Legal Framework for Diplomacy. In: New York University journal of international law & politics. Vol 27, No 3, 1995, ISSN 0028-7873, p 561
  • Japan 's constitutional powers to participate participation in peace -keeping. In: New York University journal of international law & politics. Vol 29, No. 3, 1997, ISSN 0028-7873, p 271
  • The role of science and technology in sustainable development. In: Japan review of international affairs. Vol 16, 2002, ISSN 0913-8773, p 146
  • The creation of the International Criminal Court: a critical analysis. In: Indian Society of International Law in association with Manak Publications ( eds.): Dynamics of international law in the new millennium. New Delhi, 2004, ISBN 81-7827-084-6, p 82
  • The United Nations and the maintenance of international peace and security: the current debate in the light of reform proposals. In: The Japanese annual of international law. Vol 48, 2005, ISSN 0448-8806, p 1