The twenty-first century will witness conflicts which may destabilize the international order. These conflicts are likely to arise between emerging Asian States such as China and India whose matcrial power is growing and the Western nations who wield significant ideational power. A West-centric international society will change to a multi-polar and multi-civilizational global society. This structural change includes, and further needs, changes of understandings and perceptions of the world, including of international law. The perspectives from which we see, understand, appreciate and assess international law must change. We need to interpret international law not only from a prevalent Statecentric international perspective and West-centric transnational perspective. Onuma argues that we must grasp international law from what he calls a transcivilizational perspective as well. By adopting such threelayered perspectives, international law is shown to be functioning as a tool of politics yet constrained by cultural and civilizational factors.
Onuma (family name) Yasuaki (given name), LLB (Tokyo), LLD (Tokyo), is Distinguished Professor at Meiji University and Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo. He has also taught at Columbia, Michigan, Paris, Peking, Yale, etc. His publications include A Normative Approach to War: Peace, War, and Justice in Hugo Grotius (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1993); "International Law in and with International Politics", EJIL, Vol. 14, No. I (2003).