Japan’s holds first jury trail since WWII

It took 66 years for Japan’s legal system to trust ordinary citizens

Japan just completed its first jury trial in 66 years. Katsuyoshi Fujii, a 72-year-old man accused of stabbing his neighbour to death, was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison after only four days in court. His case follows a major overhaul of Japan’s legal system meant to increase transparency and speed up the trial process. Under the new system, convictions and sentencing are both decided by juries, which are made up of six ordinary adults matched with three professional judges. Juries will hear 2-3,000 cases a year, with 300,000 members chosen annually from voter lists. Japan had instituted a jury system in 1928, but it fell apart during WWII and wasn’t reinstated because of opposition from legal professionals who didn’t want citizens determining guilt.

The Guardian