Jury Trials in Japan


The Japanese are seeking to involve their citizens in the judicial system. They are also establishing a check on the power of the judiciary. Towards these goals, they have enacted legislation to create jury trials. These remarkable ambitions envision adopting a mixed-jury system, slated to take effect in 2009. In this mixed-jury system, judges and citizens participate together in the jury deliberation.

This article first explores the differences between mixed-juries and the American jury system. It then suggests why the Japanese opted for a mixed-jury system. The article explores psychological theories surrounding collective judgment and how dominant individuals influence group dynamics. With these theories in place, the article assesses Japanese cultural attitudes and suggests that the objectives of meaningful citizen participation may be impeded in the jury deliberation process. Finally the article proposes specific procedural devices to ensure meaningful citizen participation.


Comparative and Foreign Law | Courts | Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | International Law | Judges | Jurisprudence | Law and Society

Date of this Version

March 2005