Considering Japanese Criminal Justice from an Original Position (「無知のヴェール」から日本の刑事司法を考える)

世界 SEKAI, no. 857, pp. 112-121, June 2014

21 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2014

See all articles by Mark Levin

Mark Levin

University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law

Date Written: May 8, 2014

Abstract

English Abstract: The criminal justice systems of the United States and Japan are both severely flawed. While some have worked hard to present these deep-seated problems to the public, the overall situation in either country is of stalled reform initiatives and ongoing injustices.

Race underlies a difference in how reform discussions proceed in the two nations. It is at the core of what ails the system in the U.S., as authors such as Professor Michelle Alexander have powerfully demonstrated. On the other hand, Japan’s would-be reformers operate in an atmosphere of widespread race obliviousness despite there being meaningful racial dynamics at play in Japan today.

This article, published in a leading Japanese public policy journal, offers that differences in public awareness of race in the two nations are salient. The article encourages reformers in Japan to contemplate this when strategizing their efforts. To that end, discourse that deploys John Rawls’ Veil of Ignorance in his Theory of Justice into the Japanese public consciousness may provide a fruitful mechanism for improving the efficacy of reform efforts there.

Japanese Abstract: 米国と日本とでは人種に対する市民意識に大きな隔たりがある。日本社会では人種が大きく影響を及ぼすにも関わらず、人種問題への無関心という空気の中、日本の刑事司法政策改革は進められている。ジョン・ロールズの「正義論」で言及される無知のヴェールに基づいた視点を日本の国民意識にもたらすことは、現在推進される司法改革の有効性の改善に役立つであろう。

Note: Downloadable document is in Japanese and English.

Keywords: Japan, Japanese Law, Criminal Justice, Comparative Criminal Justice, Danny Escobedo, Ashikaga Murder case, Toshikazu Sugaya, Iwao Hakamada, Minorities in Japan, John Rawls, Veil of Ignorance, Wajin’s Whiteness, Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

Suggested Citation

Levin, Mark A., Considering Japanese Criminal Justice from an Original Position (「無知のヴェール」から日本の刑事司法を考える) (May 8, 2014). 世界 SEKAI, no. 857, pp. 112-121, June 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1866366

Mark A. Levin (Contact Author)

University of Hawaii at Manoa - William S. Richardson School of Law ( email )

2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822-2350
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.hawaii.edu/levin

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