180th Diet, House of Councillors, Judicial Affairs Committee, #8

House of Councillors, Justice Committee, #8 (June 19th, 2012)

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185 Yoshihiro Toyosawa

 I am aware that there have been reports, etc. as pointed out by the Committee members.

 When a law is amended, etc., the interpretation and application of the law or the practical application of the law should be done in accordance with the purpose of the newly established law, as pointed out by the Commissioner.

 It is also related to the independence of judges in the exercise of their authority as mentioned earlier, and it is as pointed out by the Commissioner that they cannot give any orders or instructions regarding individual trials just because they are a higher authority.

 However, in the past, when there have been amendments to laws, the administrative authorities have made efforts to inform the public about the background of the legislation and its purpose.

 With regard to the Act on Partial Revision of the Civil Code, which you pointed out, and which came into effect in April, we have been making efforts to inform the public not only about the content of the law but also about its purpose by attaching excerpts of the minutes of the deliberations in the Diet to our letters, and by explaining the background and purpose of the legislation at seminars and other opportunities. We will continue to make such efforts in the future in order to provide practical support.

186 Fumiaki Sakurauchi

 I think there are several ways to deal with this. As you mentioned, I would like the General Secretariat of the Supreme Court to provide training on the amendment of the law in a general sense or to make it known to the public. I am not saying that the current system is completely useless, but as I mentioned earlier, even though other criminal cases have been dropped, the family courts have made fact-finding decisions that do not reflect that fact at all. I think it is necessary to set up procedures more firmly to prevent such cases from happening, and also to limit the scope of independence of judges in actual cases like this.

 The reason for this is that in general civil cases. Of course, district courts are conducted by a single judge, but when it comes to family cases, there are cases where the individual judge in charge has his or her own intentions, thoughts about the family, and other things that are out of line with the general public. I think there are many ways to do this.

 Of course, what I have just said is about the procedures and the composition of the courts, so we have to think about it ourselves since it is a matter of legislation, but I think we need to elaborate on such ideas.

 Especially in the family courts. However, when you think about each individual, each person, civil cases are often settled with money. However, in the case of family affairs, judges make decisions about things that cannot be replaced by money, which is a very big part of life. It’s a much heavier decision for the people involved.

 In that sense, I think it is necessary to consider the creation of a system that will prevent the independence of judges from falling into self-righteousness.

187 Minoru Taki

 This is a very difficult question to answer. Basically, we recently had a discussion on the revision of the Non-Contentious Case Law and so on, but I think that the current issue was not the subject of that discussion.

 In any case, we have received your comments and will keep them in mind for future issues.

188 Fumiki Sakurauchi

Show URL of remarks Mr. Fumiaki Sakurauchi: I am finished.

189 Satoshi Inoue

 This is Tetsushi Inoue of the Japan Communist Party.

 Today, I would like to ask a question for the realization of a full-scale court-appointed attendant system.

 Unlike criminal cases, juvenile trials in juvenile cases are based on the fact that the family court plays a guardianship role over the juvenile. On the other hand, Article 10 of the Juvenile Law allows the juvenile and the guardian to appoint an attendant. First of all, Minister, please tell us.

190 Minoru Taki

 Basically, I have no objection to the fact that the protection procedure for juveniles is aimed at the sound development of juveniles. For that purpose, I believe that the basic idea of the Juvenile Justice Act is to assign an attendant who respects the juvenile’s will, so to speak, and who can conduct a proper trial.

191 Satoshi Inoue

 I think this is the basic idea of the Juvenile Law.

 The Supreme Court, you are here, but what do you think about the activities of these lawyer attendants and their significance?

192 Yoshihiro Toyosawa

 Let me give you my answer.

 In a juvenile trial, under an ex officio hearing structure, the judge finds the facts of the delinquency, the family court investigator investigates and analyzes the causes of the delinquency and the problems of the juvenile by making use of the knowledge of behavioral science, the juvenile and the guardian are encouraged to work together and adjust their environment according to the problems revealed as a result of the investigation, and finally the judge selects the most appropriate treatment for the juvenile.

 In these proceedings, the attorney attendant, as a cooperator in the trial proceedings, first of all, in the recognition of the fact of delinquency, organizes the juvenile’s arguments in legal terms and conveys them to the judge. In addition, in cooperation with the family court investigators, the attorney attendants use their expertise and experience to help the juveniles and their guardians to get rid of antisocial organizations and to help the victims to recover from the damage.

 In this way, legal attendants work as cooperators in juvenile trials, sharing the roles with judges and family court investigators, in order to realize proper procedures and prevent juveniles from reoffending.

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