White paper on crime 2010 Part6/Section3
In order to effectively secure the right of suspects and defendants to receive the support of lawyers and realize enhanced and prompt criminal trials a system of assigning court-appointed defense counsels to detained suspects was introduced in October 2006. Cases initially covered by this system were those pertaining to offenses punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment or imprisonment for a minimum term of one year or more with or without work, but the scope was then expanded to include those pertaining to offenses punishable by the death penalty or life imprisonment or imprisonment for a maximum term of over three years with or without work in May 2009.
The Japan Judicial Support Center provides services concerning the selection of a court-appointed defense counsel, as described below. A total of 7,415 cases were accepted by the Center in FY 2008 but that then increased to 61,857 in FY 2009 due to expansion of the cases covered by the system (Source: Japan Judicial Support Center).