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The move to reform the judicial system, which is one of the most important issues of the judiciary, is also very important in the fields related to criminal policy, and needs to be closely watched. The reform has also been steadily promoted in the field of criminal policy, and the Act for Partial Amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure, etc. (Act No. 62 of 2004), which aims for the enhancement and speeding-up of criminal trials, came to effect partially, and the Act on Participation of Saiban-ins in Criminal Trials (Act No. 63 of 2004), which intends to introduce the Saiban-in system into criminal trials, is scheduled to be enforced by May of 2009.
The Saiban-in system aims to have the general public participate in the process of criminal trials, reflect their sound common sense in the contents of trials, and thereby establish the national foundation of criminal trials. However, since this system will impose significant burdens on the general public, it is necessary to gain their understanding and cooperation for Saiban-in trials in order to settle this system smoothly. For gaining understanding and cooperation, various measures including thorough implementation of PR activities on the Saiban-in system need to be carried out.
The purpose of the criminal justice system is to clarify the facts in criminal cases, exercise the punitive authority in an immediate and appropriate manner, and thereby maintain public safety and order and ensure fundamental human rights. In that sense, maintaining good conditions of public safety with fewer criminal cases is one of the crucial duties for the criminal justice system, and the Saiban-in system, aiming to reflect the general public's common sense in trials, needs to contribute to the success in this duty. It is required to make the Saiban-in system widely accepted in the Japanese society in a stable manner as a system contributing significantly to the realization of such an important duty of the criminal justice system, while making every effort to obtain the general public's understanding and cooperation.
This is also one of the most significant challenges for criminal policy at present.