Japan's 10 - Year - Old Lay Judge System Discussed

Japan's 10-year-old lay judge system discussed

The Supreme Court and other legal professionals in Japan have hosted a symposium to mark the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the country's lay judge system.

About 90,000 citizens have taken part in the system so far, and handed down sentences to about 12,000 defendants.

At a symposium in Tokyo on Tuesday, a panel comprising a judge, a prosecutor, an attorney and former lay judges discussed the issue of the increasing number of people declining to serve as lay judges.

A man who served as a lay judge said his boss was not supportive about him doing so. He said he wants the court to notify companies about employees' appointments as lay judges.

Sumio Wada, the head of the trial division at the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, said the time needed for court proceedings should be reduced because it would make it easier for firms and other organizations to allow employees to serve as lay judges.

He said the prosecutors will make efforts to present arguments and evidence that is really needed in trials.

Masato Ito, acting chief of the Tokyo District Court, said 96 percent of former lay judges said it was a good experience, and that he wants more people to know that.