Annual Conference of the International Bar Association 2014
Date: 19-24 October, 2014
Venue: Tokyo International Forum
The Annual Conference of the International Bar Association (IBA) held from 19 to 24 October, 2014 in Tokyo was a great success, with over 6,300 delegates, of which 90% were international delegates from 150 countries and regions.
"The Conference was excellent. It was well-organized and things went smoothly on-site. We have been receiving fantastic comments from our delegates, and that is very important to us. Costs in Tokyo were reasonable, and the quality of service was very high."
The International Bar Association (IBA) was established in 1947, and acts as the world's leading organization of international legal practitioners, bar associations, and law societies. Having a membership of over 200 bar associations and law societies, as well as over 55,000 individual memberships, the IBA aims to promote an exchange of information and networking among its member legal associations worldwide, and has been holding the Annual Conference since 1964.
During the Annual Conference at the Tokyo International Forum, 398 sessions were held, where issues in various areas of law were discussed, such as human rights, family law, intellectual property, aviation law, and banking law.
IBA is also known for the large number of social functions held every night during the Conference Week, and 62 official social events as well as many other private functions went on all over Tokyo. One was held in an izakaya, or a Japanese-style pub, another was held in a top of the tower restaurant having a magnificent night view, and still another was held on a cruise ship on Tokyo Bay. The delegates would “hop” from one reception to another, to network and enjoy the night.
IBA Tokyo 2014 showcased Tokyo's hospitality towards the IBA delegates, and many international delegates expressed their happy surprise.
For the Welcome Reception, the Lobby Gallery of the iconic Tokyo International Forum Glass building, which is normally open to the public and used as a walkway between two of the busiest train stations in Tokyo, was closed off for the private use of IBA for the first time. The delegates enjoyed the traditional Japanese atmosphere and the streetscapes of the Edo era (old Tokyo), with greetings by kimono girls, yosakoi dancing, ken-dama performance, and more.
Also, the main street of Marunouchi, Tokyo's leading business district, closed off during the IBA Week, and became a temporary café space for the delegates. It was the first time that the area has shut out car traffic for a conference.
Among the multiple support provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Business Events Team at Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau, the most popular one was the student volunteers standing on every corner in and around the venue to guide the 6,300 delegates to their destination. Many delegates kindly showed their appreciation by saying “arigato” (thank you) to the volunteers, and some even stopped to enjoy a conversation with those students eager to communicate in English.
Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Business Events Team at Tokyo Convention & Visitors Bureau also supported the Conference by providing flags and banners in the surrounding shopping streets, City Information desks at airports and on-site, sightseeing tours in Tokyo, and cultural programs of dressing in kimono, flower arrangement (ikebana) and Japanese woodblock prints, entertaining many first time visitors to Japan.