NEW YORK – Hisashi Owada, father of Crown Princess Masako, was certain to be appointed Monday as a judge at the International Court of Justice at The Hague, sources said.
In the scheduled vote at the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Security Council, Owada, a former envoy to the United Nations, was running unopposed for one of the two slots reserved for Asian nations.
The other slot was being pursued, also unopposed, by a Chinese national.
Appointed arbitrator of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague in December, the 70-year-old Owada is as a noted authority in the field of international law. In his new capacity as an ICJ judge, he is expected to play a leading role in adjudicating territorial and other inter-state disputes.
Five judges were set to be replaced by the vote, including Shigeru Oda, who will retire in February after completing a third nine-year term. Owada will become the third Japanese to serve at the court, while Oda, 77, will have served the longest tenure in the court’s history, at 27 years.
Judges from China, Germany, Hungary and Sierra Leone will also complete their terms in February.
The ICJ features 15 judges selected on a regional basis.
Owada joined the Foreign Ministry in 1955 and served as vice foreign minister between 1991 and 1993. He had served previously as a prime ministerial aide and director general of the Foreign Ministry’s Treaties Bureau.
He currently serves as director of the Japan Institute of International Affairs, a think tank.