Why Jury System Fails in Japan

Topics: Jury, Jury trial, Court Pages: 2 (546 words) Published: December 13, 2012

Though it is the combination of various factors that results in the failure of Japanese Jury System, this essay mainly focuses on the cultural perspective.

First, the majority of Japanese people’s disbelief in the current jury system stems from their high respect for authority. Since Japanese people trust professionals or experts and have less faith in common people, they prefer trial by experienced judges rather than trials by common people selected randomly. To start with, one question should be answered first—why Japanese people have high respect for authority. Japanese people had lived under dictatorship for more than one millennium. In feudalist Japan, each federal lord has his own castle as the headquarter and governed his territory by his own law, and warriors worked under the lord, and the people were at the lowest status. Their pyramid of social rank called "Shi (samurai: warrior) - Nou (farmer) - Koh (manufacturer) - Sho (merchant)" had been formed strictly. At that time, the order of the authority was absolute for everything. Fortunately, in 1868, the Meiji Restoration enabled the strict social pyramid to collapse and form a new system consists of the Emperor, the aristocracy and the common people. However, their political system was still a dictatorship. The sovereign was the Emperor not the people. Only in the end of the World WarⅡdid Japanese people meet the true democracy. The long term suffering of the oppression from the authority has made Japanese people learn to be obedient to the authority. Meanwhile, the introduction of Confucianism in the 4th century has reinforced the value of hierarchy in Japanese society, as it argues “the emperor is the emperor, and the minister is minister; when the father is father, and the son is son”—inferiors should give due respect to their superiors. Therefore, Japanese people tend to adapt to catering to authority, and that kind of instinct become part of their characteristics. And the trust in...
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