The Family of Nations and Conflict of Laws

  • Douglas Howland


The natural law understanding of a family of nations included any polity as a member, for there was no requirement that a state possess a formal state structure like that of European monarchies or comply with a “standard of civilization.” Japan took part in international actions as a sovereign state-including neutrality during the Franco—Prussian War and the international effort to suppress the coolie trade. Japanese legal scholars also participated in the two organizations committed to expanding international law in the nineteenth century: the Association for the Reform and Codification of the Law of Nations and the Institut de droit international. This international activity demonstrates that, instead of “civilization,” European powers hoped to coordinate national differences regarding marriage, contracts, and so forth, in accord with their procedure of “conflict of laws.”


Japanese Government Legal Scholar Western Power Foreign Power Extraterritorial Jurisdiction 
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