Ensuring that the Results of the Justice System Reform Take Root

  In the 21st century, the justice system is expected to play a gaining role due to various social changes, including changes from the current "advance control and regulation" society to a "post review and remedy" society. Therefore, it is now time to reinforce the functions of the legal services and to establish a new legal system which is readily accessible to the general public.
  So, aiming at the realization of a closer, faster, and reliable justice system for the national public, the Ministry has been reforming the justice system based on a fundamental principle of the following three pillars: "construction of a justice system which meets the expectations of the people", "reform of the judicial community to support the justice system", and "establishment of a popular base for the justice system (participation of the general public in the justice system)".
  A total of 24 acts relating to the justice system reform were enacted in three years from 2002 to 2004, and those acts has steadily implemented.
  After the above mentioned reforms, the achievements of the justice system reforms should take root, so that the justice system can fully exercise its functions and the national public can share the fruits of the reform.
  Being in charge of the justice system, the Ministry of Justice is ready to take appropriate measures to fulfill requirements in the new coming period giving due regard to the aims of the justice system reform.

Government action

July 1999 Establishment of the Justice System Reform Council (JSRC) within the Cabinet
June 2001 Submission of the Recommendations of the JSRC to the Cabinet
Dec. 2001 Establishment of the Office for Promotion of Justice System Reform (OPJSR) within the Cabinet
March 2002 Cabinet approval of the Plan for Promotion of Justice System Reform
Dec. 2004 Establishment of the Promotion Office of Justice System Reform within the Cabinet Secretariat

The threepillars of justice system reform

Construction of a justice system which meets the expectations of the people

Establishment of the Japan Legal Support Center (Houterasu)
   It aims a society in which the general public can acquire information and services necessary to settle disputes based on laws anywhere in Japan.
Enhancement of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
   Disputes will be settled flexibly by respecting the voluntary will of the parties involved and the function of adjudication will be further enhanced.
●Improvement and acceleration of criminal procedures
   Punishment will be executed more appropriately and expeditiously through the introduction of the pre-trial arrangement proceeding and state-appointed counsel.
Translation of Japanese laws
   Translation of Japanese laws will be promoted from the perspective of facilitating cross-border transactions and promoting foreign direct investment.

Reform of the judicial community

●Reform of the legal training system
   A new legal training system will be introduced with the training comprised of graduate law school, the bar exam and legal apprenticeship with the graduate law school playing a central role.
●Expansion of the legal population
   Nurture the legal professionals rich in both quality and quantity to increase the number of the legal professionals.

Establishment of a popular base for the justice system

●”Saiban-in system
   Under the system, which came into force on May 21 2009, the saiban-in selected from the general public participate in the criminal court proceedings.
Promotion of law-related education
   The government will ensure that the general public is better able to understand the laws and the justice system and will be able to acquire a legal frame of mind.