Jury Trials in Japan
39 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2005
Date Written: March 16, 2005
Seeking to involve their citizens in the judicial system as well to establish a check on the power of the judiciary, the Japanese have enacted legislation to create jury trials. The type of jury trial enacted by this legislation, which takes effect in 2009, is a mixed-jury system where judges and citizens participate together in jury deliberations. This article first explores the differences between mixed juries and the American jury system. It then suggests why the Japanese opted for a mixed-jury system. From that point the article explores psychological theory surrounding collective judgment and how dominant individuals influence group dynamics. With these theories in mind, the article explores Japanese cultural attitudes and suggests that the objective of meaningful citizen participation might be impeded in the jury deliberation process. Finally, the article proposes specific procedural devices to ensure meaningful citizen participation.
Keywords: Japan, jury trials, Justice System Reform Council, JSRC, trial-by-jury, mixed-jury, pre-deliberation
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