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MU Law School to Host Seminar to Compare and Contrast U.S. and Japan’s Views of Aging

Story Contact(s):
Nathan Hurst,, 573-882-6217

WHAT: The University of Missouri School of Law and the MU Interdisciplinary Center On Aging will host a seminar examining the similarities and differences in how the United States and Japan view aging and disability. The seminar, “Guardianship and Special Needs Trusts: How Might Japan and Missouri Learn from Each Other?” will feature Makoto Arai, a professor of law from Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan.

The seminar will feature numerous experts in the fields of disability and law and aging, discussing topics such as: challenges of adult guardianship and trust law in the aged Japanese society; health care decisions by guardians; and the use of trust in guardianship.

While in Columbia, Arai and fellow Japanese experts will be visiting the University of Missouri and the offices of the Midwest Special Needs Trust to examine Missouri’s policies on aging and disability and to determine whether Missouri’s programs would be appropriate for their home country.

“Japan has the highest percentage of elderly individuals in the world,” said David English, William Franklin Fratcher Professor of Law at MU. “How to care for elderly incapacitated individuals has become an issue of increasing concern in Japan, as it has in Missouri. Japan is currently working on a revision of its guardianship laws. We are pleased that a delegation from Japan will be visiting the university to speak with experts from MU and elsewhere in the state on how Missouri is seeking to improve its guardianship system.”

WHO: Keynote speaker:
Makoto Arai, professor of law, Chuo University

Arai is a graduate of the faculty of law at Keio University in Tokyo and received his doctoral degree from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany. His research interests include the use of the trust system in an aging society and the encouragement of better utilization of adult guardianship. Arai also has authored numerous books on comparative law.

Other speakers include:
Don Reynolds, assistant research professor of internal medicine at MU
Colleen Galambos, professor and director of the graduate certificate in gerontological social work program in the School of Social Work at MU
Cheryl Shigaki, associate professor in the School of Health Professions at MU
Gerald Zafft, founder of the Midwest Special Needs Trust
Patrick Connaghan, probate commissioner for the city of St. Louis
Daniel Wheeler, probate commissioner for Jackson County, Mo.
Mariah Dreisinger, medical school student at MU

1:30 – 4 p.m., Monday, Nov. 4
Courtroom, Hulston Hall, MU Law School
MU campus