On reading the recent article on the implementation of Japan’s lay judge system, I recalled my recent call to duty in my home country (Australia). During a two-month visit back home my card was pulled for jury duty. Although in the end I wasn’t called upon to be a juror, I became fascinated by the process and ended up leaving with a sense of responsibility. I actually left the court a little upset that I hadn’t been chosen.
Being a juror allows or, as some perceive it, forces us to be involved with society’s mechanisms at a tangible level. The actual situation is worlds apart from what is portrayed by drama shows and sitcoms. The implementation of Japan’s lay judge system, of course, will come with its missteps and the obligatory doomsayers but I think the opinion polls will soon start to look more favorable once the system is in place.
Maybe a spot of democratic involvement will add a bit of balance to that very suspicious, very bureaucratic 99.8% conviction rate. A slightly different prediction to the experts but hey, I am just a layman.
Will Kipling, Tokyo
Censorship in the media, or rather, self-censorship remains a significant issue in Japan. I was glad to see the Sound of Silencing article in your August issue, and it was interesting to read about the various incidents of censorship and “bullying” that have occurred within the last few years.
I find it ironic that a government ruling citizens that are so dubious of their great neighbor, China, and (slightly?) fearful of North Korea will so freely and blatantly participate in a type of nationalist censorship that these two countries are oft known for. It’s obvious that this governmental PR and protectionism is only in the interest of those right-wingers that still lurk within the system.
Mis-educating youth with fabricated stories and a “selective” recollection of history, as was debated in the textbook issue, and then punishing those who are motivated enough to speak out is not a bright direction for the country to head. There is unfortunately little to be done, however, until the old guard are out and enjoying their pensions.
On a different note, I’m really enjoying the new layout of the magazine—looks very sharp! Keep up the good work!
Emily Cerutti, Chiba