DiGRA Japan's legal status
The organizing body of DiGRA 2007 is DiGRA Japan, a chapter of DiGRA and a national association of game scholars in Japan. We thought that this would be more appropriate than having a single university as the sole organizing body of DiGRA 2007 because we wanted (and we still do) to make it an inter-university effort. Making DiGRA 2007 the University of Tokyo business would be detrimental for the future of game studies in Japan. This is why we hurried to establish DiGRA Japan and made it the host organization of DiGRA 2007.
This, however, generated one disadvantage. The University of Tokyo is an independent administrative agency and has a corporate status (hojinkaku), which means the university can sign an agreement as a legal entity. We chose to establish DiGRa Japan as a voluntary association (nin'i dantai), because getting a corporate status is difficult (in terms of amount of time and energy we would need to spend for paperwork). Therefore, DiGRA Japan does not have a legal personality. All the contracts will be concluded in the name of its representatives. This means, if any problem occurs, DiGRA Japan executive board members will take (legal or financial) responsibilities.
DiGRA Japan's rather informal status caused some concerns among DiGRA executives. This concern, however, comes from cultural difference, or difference about how academic organizations are managed in Japan.
The fact that DiGRA Japan does not have a legal personality means we are going to take all the financial and legal risk. This might look a lot, but we are much better off this way than to make DiGRA Japan a corporate body. If we have to do all the necessary paperwork now, we will not be able to do other essential activities for DiGRA 2007, such as raising money for the conference. In Japan, only very large learned societies can afford to have a corporate status. DiGRA Japan will likely to have a few hundreds members to start, and that would be too small to support its going through a very tedious process. So, we would rather accept such risk and put off making DiGRA Japan have a more legally defined status. Because of the difficulty of getting a corporate status, it is quite common among small or mid-size learned societies not to have a corporate status and to host or organize conferences. It is also common, in such societies, an individual, usually the president, assumes all the legal and financial responsibilities.