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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76957 Find in a Library
Title: Law Under the Rising Sun
Journal: Judges Journal  Volume:20  Issue:1  Dated:(Winter 1981)  Pages:42-47
Author(s): M Shikita
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 6
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article by a Japanese expert describes how lawyers, prosecutors, and judges are educated in Japan and maintains that the Japanese judicial system is more effective than the U.S. system.
Abstract: Japan's legal system has three branches -- the judiciary, the procuracy, and the practicing bar. Members of each branch receive identical legal training at a government institute and have similar qualifications. The government pays the full cost for each student and supplies a monthly stipend. To enter any branch, candidates must receive a sufficiently high score on the National Law Examination, complete 2 years of training and apprenticeship at the Legal Training and Research Institute, and pass a final exam. At the institute, the initial orientation lectures are followed by a series of at least 15 drafting exercises. The emphasis in draftsmanship is on factfinding based on an organized proof as well as on application of law appropriate to the facts. A judge's ability to determine facts accurately is important in Japan because there is no jury system. After their initial 4 months, apprentices are ready to enter specialized field training, where they develop legal skills and cultivate legal thinking via actual work experience in each of the three branches of the legal profession. The institute maintains close ties with the courts, prosecutors' offices, and lawyers' associations to assure effective field training. Graduates who have passed the final examination may register as practicing lawyers anywhere in Japan. Those who wish to join the judiciary or procuracy must apply to the Ministry of Justice. The joint training scheme fosters unity and mutual understanding among legal professionals and facilitates the coordination of government agencies at both national and local levels. The relationships between the judiciary and other agencies and their consequent impact on the efficient and effective administration of criminal justice are the reasons for the low and still decreasing crime rate in Japan. It has implications for the very high crime rate in the United States, where the judiciary should lead in achieving better coordination of policies and efforts among the subsystems of criminal justice. Rather than impairing judicial independence and the function of safeguarding the rights of individuals, such efforts would raise the status of judges. Statistical data are included.
Index Term(s): Attorneys; Degree programs; Japan; Judges; Judicial educational programs; Judicial process; Law schools; Legal training; Professionalization
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Article adapted from an address delivered by the author at the National Judicial College on May 24, 1979.
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