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Open Access Publications from the University of California

About

PBLJ is the second oldest law journal at UCLA and focuses on a diverse range of legal and policy issues in the Pacific Rim, looking to both the Asia-Pacific and the Americas. In the past, PBLJ has featured articles on topics as varied as intellectual property regimes, climate change and migration in the Pacific, corporate governance, and affordable housing policy in China.

Articles

Reexamining Separation: The Construction of Separation of Religion and State in Post-War Japan

This article provides a comprehensive doctrinal analysis and critique of the Japanese Supreme Court's treatment of separation of religion and the state in post-war Japan. After placing the development of the doctrine in its proper historical and political context, the article argues that the Court's construction of the doctrine threatens to undermine religious liberty and equality in Japan. The article then considers the various socio-political forces underlying the Court's construction of the doctrine, including the role that the Court sees itself playing in the contest over separation of religion and state in Japan. The article concludes by arguing that, through the lens of the Japanese experience, one can draw normative lessons about the dangers of religious identity exclusion and the inappropriateness of relying upon one constitutional standard-be it the Japanese Court's purpose and effect test, the Lemon test, or the O'Connor endorsement test-in interpreting the constitutional principle of separation of religion and the state.

Is East Asia Industrializing Too Quickly? Environmental Regulation in Its Special Economic Zones

East Asia is undergoing its own Industrial Revolution. Special economic zones (SEZs) are playing a key role in its economic transformation. However, industrialization has brought great environmental concern. Over recent decades, China, the Philippines, South Korea, and other newly industrializing economies in East Asia have designated special areas for foreign investment and export production to which have been conceded favourable investment and trade conditions, and often exemption from certain kinds of regulation. "Race to the bottom" and related theories of the effects of inter-jurisdictional competition for investment predict that environmental regulation would be compromised in SEZs. Contrary to such hypotheses, there is some evidence that environmental regulation in East Asia's industrializing zones is stricter than in other parts of their economies, and that foreign investors are sometimes more strictly regulated than local businesses. The experience of East Asia's SEZs - particularly in China - suggests we need to re-think  how we conceptualise the relationships between environmental law and foreign investment in the context of rapidly industrializing developing countries. This experience also reveals persistent weaknesses in the legal systems of East Asia and the fragility of the rule of (environmental) law. To address this, further reform to the environmental regulation of SEZs should be grounded in more wide-ranging and basic improvements to administrative regimes, policy instruments and access to justice.