Razgovor s profesorom Časlavom Pejovićem s Pravnog fakulteta Sveučilišta u Kyushu (Japan)

"To have successful careers abroad, there are several ingredients that are necessary: high ambition, strong motivation, a lot of efforts, and a little bit of luck." 


Prof. Pejović (Faculty of Law, University of Kyushu) and Prof. Goto (Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo) with prof. Degan and the members of the Adriatic Institute at the occasion of their visit to the Institute in March 2016


Prof. Pejović, you are alumni of Zagreb Law Faculty and prof. Jakaša’s student. Could you tell us about your experiences and memories of your studying in Zagreb and in particular of prof. Jakaša?

I have fond memories of my studying in Zagreb. Faculty of Law in Zagreb has always had great maritime law scholars and initially I was in dilemma about whom to select as my mentor. Once I discussed this with Emilio Pallua at the Adriatic Institute and he advised me to ask Branko Jakaša. This proved to be excellent advice. There was a kind of chemistry in our communication and we understood well each other without saying too much. I was very motivated and I worked really hard on my dissertation, and I think my mentor Jakaša appreciated that. He was always very fast in sending comments to my text, and I could feel encouragement and support in his short messages. Jakaša was a great maritime law scholar and in his books he was able to delve deeply into the essence of issues. Learning process involves a certain amount of copying, particularly in the initial stage. In that first stage, but even later, I was strongly influenced by his way of writing, even though I have always tried to develop my own style.

You are a member of the Editorial Board of the Adriatic Institute’s Comparative Maritime Law journal, and a frequent contributor to the journal. Your valuable academic papers are always very well accepted and widely read when published in the journal. How would you describe your long cooperation with the Institute and what would be your vision for the future of that cooperation. When was your last visit to the Adriatic Institute and what are your impressions of the Institute today compared to your past experiences?

My contacts with the Adriatic Institute started in 1983, when the director was Dr. Branko Kojic. At that time the Institute was in Opaticka 10 in Gornji Grad (Upper Town), one of my favourite parts of Zagreb. From the very beginning I found there a friendly atmosphere and support for my research. Later I started to publish my papers in the Comparative Maritime Law published by the Adriatic Institute and I continued to do so for more than 25 years. Even after I moved to Japan and started my new career there in 1990’s, despite distance I continued cooperation with the Institute as one of the members of the Editorial Board and as a contributor. In March 2016 I attended a conference at the Faculty Law in Zagreb and I used this opportunity to visit the Institute after many years. It was my pleasure to meet the staff of the Institute and I was particularly glad that I could meet again (after more than 30 years!) Vladimir Djuro Degan, the Director of the Institute, for whom I have a great respect. If I would compare the present Institute with the one I used to visit some 30 years ago, the most noticeable difference is the building. Previous one in Opaticka 10 was really nice. Anyway, what makes a research institution is not the building, but the people.

You and prof. Goto of the Faculty of Law, University of Tokyo participated as guest lecturers at the ENER-MAR-COMM Conference held at the Zagreb Law Faculty in March 2016. How did the conference come to be, what are your impressions of it, is it going to remain a single event or does it have a prospect of developing into something larger?

I think the conference was a great success, with a number of interesting topics and presentations. It is fair to mention contribution of two young scholars in organizing this event. One is Mišo Mudrić from the Faculty of Law in Zagreb, and another is Gen Goto from Tokyo University. Such young people with new ideas and enthusiasm have the ability to make many things happen.  I am confident that this will not be just a single event. The second part will be held next November in Tokyo, and I am aware that a number of scholars from Croatia plan to attend this event.

Prof. Pejović, you are a world-renowned expert and academic in the field of maritime law. How did you choose your professional orientation? What led you to build your career in Japan? Becoming a professor of the Faculty of Law, Kyushu University seems to be an extraordinary achievement for a foreign academic in Japan. Could you share your experiences with us?

Maritime law is my “first love” to which I remained faithful throughout my academic career. My first contact with maritime law was at the University of Montenegro through the lectures of  Boro Ivošević, to whom I owe gratitude for introducing me to this fascinating subject and providing guidance in the initial and the crucial stage of my academic career. Later came my contact with Branko Jakaša during my doctoral studies in Zagreb, and then came my study at Kyoto University under guidance of another great scholar who played important role in my further career: Yoshiya Kawamata. At Kyoto University I completed my master thesis (in Japanese), which opened the way for my academic career in Japan. In 1997 I got position as Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law at Kyushu University, which is one of the oldest and the most prestigious universities in Japan. In 2001 I was promoted to the position of Professor and a few years later I got tenured position. This shows that it is possible for the people from small countries, such as Montenegro, to have successful careers abroad. There are several ingredients that are necessary to do that: high ambition, strong motivation, a lot of efforts, and a little bit of luck.

How would you evaluate the Croatian maritime and transport law profession, including academia and practice?    

Since I have lived for long in Japan, my contacts with Croatian scholars have been scarce, so my knowledge on the current situation in Croatian maritime law academia and practice is rather limited. By reading the Comparative Maritime Law issues I was able to follow partly new developments in maritime law and practice in Croatia and I was also able to see that there are some new talented maritime law scholars. During my visit to Zagreb in March I met several young maritime law scholars, which is encouraging. I am also aware that a number of international events have been organized in Croatia. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the TransLawFer Conference that was held in Zagreb in 2014, but I sent one my LL.D. student who returned to Japan with very positive impressions. Croatia has a long and rich tradition of maritime law academia. I am confident that it also has the future.


Časlav Pejović is Professor of Law at the Faculty of Law, Kyushu University. Prior to joining Kyushu University in 1997, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Montenegro. He has LL.B. degree from the University of Montenegro, LL.M. degree from the University of Belgrade and from Kyoto University, and Ph.D. degree from Zagreb University. His teaching and research interests include maritime law, comparative law, commercial law, international business law and foreign investment law. He is the member in a number of international academic and professional associations, such as the International Academy of Comparative Law (IACL), the International Academy of Commercial and Consumers Law (IACCL), the East Asian Law and Society (EALS), and the Japanese Association of Maritime Law. He also served as arbitrator of the ICC Arbitration.