I basically became the party making the request for disclosure, but in 2000, I was appointed to be on the review boards of local public bodies. I became a member of the information disclosure review committee of Zushi in July 2000, and in October 2004, I became a member of the Kanagawa Prefecture’s personal information protection review board. This way, I took a part to judge appealed cases.
And, I was a full-time member of the Cabinet Office Information Disclosure and Personal Information Protection Review Board for three years from October 2011. This experience has greatly changed my life. Until the time I joined the Board, it was occupied by judges, prosecutors and civil servants, but they decided to include lawyers in the Board due to the Democratic administration’s policy at the time, and I was chosen. Because full-time committee members were not allowed to have concurrent jobs, I have canceled my lawyer registration, left the teaching job at law school, and focused on the work of the Review Board. I went to the Secretariat of the Review Board every day, stayed in a room all day and organized case issues with the staff. At a meeting that took place about three times a month, we spent 4 hours reviewing about 10 cases. We compiled 530 reports in 3 years. By being exposed to many cases including in-camera inspection of non-disclosure documents from a judging position, my vision has expanded widely and it became an irreplaceable experience.
When I was at the Review Board, about 20 students of Chuo Law School, who were led by Professor Kazuo Inaba, visited me after a review meeting. Professor Yoichi Ohashi of Gakushuin University Law School and Professor Reiko Nakasone of Kokugakuin University Law School were also in the committee I belonged to as part-time members, and since we enjoyed talking when we were with law students, the meeting with the students became quite exciting, and it seemed that it was also interesting for the students for a visit to a government office.
After my retirement, I summarized my thoughts about the main points of my work at the Review Board and information disclosure in a book called Comments on Points: Examples of Reports by the Information Disclosure/Personal Information Protection Review Board (Nippon Hyoron Sha, 2016). Although it costs about 6,000 yen including tax, which is expensive (I have to humbly say that it has become so expensive not because the contents are extremely educational, but because it is not likely to sell much), please read it if you are interested in this field.