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The number of lay judges is declining as Japan celebrates the 15th year of the system

As Japan marks the 15th anniversary of the introduction of its system of lay judges on Tuesday, Supreme Court documents show that the number of appointed judges has declined and trials have generally become longer in recent years.

The system, in which citizens are appointed to participate alongside professional judges in the hearings and sentencing of serious criminal cases, continues to face challenges both in encouraging people to take up the call to become lay judges and making processes more efficient and fairer. at the same time giving a satisfactory assessment to each case.

As of February this year, a total of 124,017 citizens had been selected as lay judges and their deputies – joining the judicial process from the start and remaining ready in case of withdrawal – according to Supreme Court statistics since the system’s introduction in 2009.

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