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A reconstruction of the theory of damages on civil liability from aspects of law and psychology
"A Legal-psychological Restructuring of Damages Theory in Civil Liability – Toward Juridical Clinical Support for Diverse Damage Recovery"

Writer: MATSUMOTO, Katsumi (School of Law, Professor)   terms: 2016 5

Project overview

Interviewing students at Ewha Women’s University in South Korea.  This project aims to develop a juridical clinical theoretical framework for damage recovery support by reconstructing damages theory in cases in which there is a right to seek civil damages because an illegal act has been committed from a legal-psychological perspective, and, in concrete terms, to conduct research focusing on damages theory in the case of white spot damage caused by Kanebo whitening cosmetics that came to light in July of 2013. Research project member Ayae Kido (R-GIRO Senior researcher) utilized her specialized knowledge and techniques as an expert in the psychology of cosmetics to conduct multiple interview surveys of the female plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking compensation in relation to high-grade white spot damage currently underway in Kyoto. 4th year undergraduate student Kayoko Imaida, whose graduation thesis is being supervised by Dr. Kido, conducted the surveys as an assistant and obtained information about various aspects of the situation, including the victims’ sense of unease concerning their white-spot damage (regarding the progression and recovery of which there is no definite scientific knowledge), their anger at being betrayed by the cosmetics company they had relied on in their daily lives, and the effects negativity in interpersonal relationships has had on their minds and bodies. The knowledge gained from these interviews was shared with the group of lawyers representing the plaintiffs in their lawsuit, and may contribute to the damages theory in the trial in an appropriate form.

Presentation of results and Korean survey

Kido was an organizer of a Japanese Society for Law and Psychology event held on October 25th, 2015. A workshop entitled “For a legal-psychological reconstruction of appearance-altering damages theory” at which she, Imaida, and Matsumoto each presented reports was staged, interim reports of research in progress were given, and thoughts and opinions were exchanged. These results attracted interest as cutting-edge and unprecedented research. In February of 2016, Matsumoto, Kido, Kim Sung-eun, and Imaida conducted interviews in Seoul. Intended as a study of the current state of affairs regarding Kanebo cosmetics damages in South Korea, interviews of students, graduate students, and research staff at Ewha Women’s University were undertaken to examine topics such as their view of cosmetics and image of Japanese cosmetic products. Regarding these Korean interviews, Kim Sung-eum (R-GIRO Senior researcher) contributed greatly by selecting an appropriate venue for the interviews and serving as an interpreter. Matsumoto presented an essay on the limits of past damages theory from the perspective of civil law and new research horizons that could be opened up by this collaboration between law and psychology (Matsumoto, Katsumi, “Legal and Psychological Approach to Theories of Negative Prescription and Damages: For Victim Support in Damage Compensation Demands,” Ritsumeikan University Journal of Human Sciences No 33 (February, 2016) pp. 3-33.

Development going forward

In connection to the lawsuit in Kyoto mentioned above, with Kido taking the lead the team plans to write an opinion statement regarding damages theory from the perspective of the psychology of cosmetics. The victims and their lawyers have high expectations of this putting into words of the victims’ actual perception of damages from a psychological perspective that differs from that of jurists.

Related projects

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