Ensuring that the Results of the Justice System Reforms Take Root

 The justice system is expected to play even larger role in the 21st century due to various social changes, including change from an “ex-ante regulation and coordination society” to an “ex-post check and aide society.” Therefore, it is necessary to continue to strengthen the functions of legal services and to establish a new legal system which is readily accessible to the general public.
 For the realization of a closer, faster, and more reliable justice system for the public, the Ministry has been implementing reforms, placing the following three pillars as fundamental principles:  “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 the foundations of justice among the general public” (participation of the general public in the justice system).
 A total of 24 Acts relating to the reform of the judicial system were enacted in the three years from 2002 to 2004, and those Acts have been steadily implemented.
 After the above mentioned reforms, the achievements of the reform need to take root, so that the justice system can fully exercise its functions and the 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 coming new age giving due regard to the aims of the reform of the judicial system.

Government Efforts

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
December 2001 Establishment of the Office for Promotion of Justice System Reform (OPJSR) Within the Cabinet (time limit for establishment : dissolved in November 2004)
March 2002 Cabinet Approval of the Plan for Promotion of Justice System Reform
December 2004 Establishment of the Promotion Office of Justice System Reform Within the Cabinet Secretaria


The Three Pillars of the Reform

Construction of a Justice System Which Meets the Expectations of the People

  1. Establishment of the Japan Legal Support Center (Houterasu)
    The center aims to create a society in which the general public can acquire information and services necessary to settle disputes based on laws anywhere in Japan.
  2. Enhancement of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
    ADR that can settle disputes flexibly by respecting the voluntary will of the parties involved shall be enhanced and the function of adjudication shall further be enhanced as well.
  3. Improvement and Acceleration of Criminal Trials
    Punitive authority shall be exercised more appropriately and expeditiously through the introduction of the pretrial arrangement proceeding and state-appointed counsel.
  4. Translation of Japanese Laws
    Translation of Japanese laws shall be promoted from the perspective of facilitating cross-border transactions and promoting foreign direct investment.


Reform of the Judicial Community

  1.  Reform of a System to Nurture the Legal Profession
    The aim is to nurture the legal profession through law school, the national bar examination and legal training with law school playing a central role.
  2.  The Increase in the Number of Legal Professionals
    The aim is to increase the number of legal professionals by nurturing quality and plenty of professionals.


Establishment of the Foundations of Justice Among the General Public

  1.  Lay Judge System -“Saiban-in System”
    The system in which the general public participate in criminal trials (commenced: May 21, 2009).
  2.  Promotion of Law-Related Education
    The government strives to promote law-related education so that the general public understand the significance of law and judicial process as well as acquire a legal frame of mind thereby supporting free and just society.