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Takeshi TOMIOKA (Assistant Section Chief, 2nd Telecommunications Consumer Policy Division, Telecommunications Business Department, Telecommunications Bureau, Ministry of International Affairs and Communications)

He entered the School of Engineering Science to study AI and robotics

A bookworm since he was a child, Mr. Tomioka read a number of mystery novels in elementary and junior high school, then began reading science fiction in senior high school, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey. Eventually, he came to want to make robots himself, and to him, "OU is the authority in robotics." So he entered the Information Science and Technology Department at the School of Engineering Science at OU, where students can perform research on AI and networks.

With a desire to expand his knowledge, he enters Law School

At first, he wasn’t at all interested in law; however, he had a turning point during his 3rd year at OU. One of his acquaintance who had started a business was involved in a conflict in international business transactions, and patent compensation for blue LEDs was being litigated at the time. This lead Mr. Tomioka to think, “In manufacturing, law is just as important as technology,” and he found an interest in law.

When thinking about his career path, he consulted with his mentor, Professor Hirotaka NAKANO (now retired) of the Cybermedia Center. Prof. Nakano told him, "Go out and see the world.” Said Mr. Tomioka, "I thought to myself, 'I can become a technician after learning about law that I’m interested in and expanding my knowledge.' Looking back on it now, this was a big turning point for me." This affirmed his decision to enter law school.

He learned about work procedures at OU

After advancing to law school, he also participated in a graduate school study course in law. This experience has proven useful in his work as a judiciary. He spoke about his studies, saying, "Holding a wide range of discussions in this study group on how to solve issues while taking a comprehensive look at the merits and demerits of each solution has served me well as a judiciary, in which I must not only adhere to the law but also make decisions with which the majority of people can agree."

The appeal of judges as “law coordinators”

"If I wasn’t able to pass the national bar exam, I would have just entered a scientific graduate school and become a technician," said Mr. Tomioka. But since he ended up passing the exam, he had to decide whether to become a judge, prosecutor, or defense attorney. "I was naturally drawn to the role of judge, who acts as an intermediary to find the best possible solution for both sides of a case." After becoming a judge, he served in the Nara District Court and the Okazaki Branch of the Nagoya District/Family Courts, working on juvenile cases, civil provisional cases, as well as civil cases with citizen judges. Mr. Tomioka spoke about this experience, saying, "In court, judicial decisions are not made through logic only. I hand down a decision to which as many people as possible can agree after thinking about the situation of the parties concerned, the social circumstances, and the background that the law was made."

He added, "With unpaid wage cases, for example, judicial settlement would be the attachment of the bank account after a verdict is handed down; however, in reality, that settlement results in inability of the company to continue business. Eventually, the plaintiff could not receive payment from the company and workers of the company, including the plaintiff, would lose their job. To prevent such, I will find a compromise between parties concerned, something in which I find a rewarding sense of satisfaction."

Think hard at university and aim for your dreams

Mr. Tomioka sent a message of encouragement to the students at OU, saying, “I feel as though nothing I learned at OU has gone to waste. For example,  I didn’t understand the significance of general education at the time, but when I look back,  I think what I learned there has been useful at pivotal points in my life. So while you have time as a student, I want you to learn, worry, and take the scenic route when you can; I think those experiences will be useful someday. And I want you to think about what you really want to do and follow your dreams.”



A 2006 graduate of the Information Science and Technology Department, School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, Mr. Tomioka graduated from the Osaka University School of Law in 2009, after which he passed the national bar examination. After finishing his apprenticeship in 2011, he was appointed as a judge. He served in the Nara District Court, the Okazaki Branch of the Nagoya District/Family Courts, and the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Supreme Court General Secretariat. In 2016, he was temporarily transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications where he is working in his current position as Assistant Section Chief, 2nd Telecommunications Consumer Policy Division, Telecommunications Business Department, Telecommunications Bureau.

Note: This is a reprint of the article posted in the Osaka University NewsLetter No. 75 (March 2017).

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