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 White paper on crime 2006 Part 6/Chapter 5/Section 4 

Section 4  Enforcement of the Comprehensive Legal Aid Services Act

  The Comprehensive Legal Aid Services Act (Act No. 74 of 2004), which was promulgated on June 2, 2004, aims to develop a general support system where people nationwide can accept necessary information and services for resolving disputes legally. Based on the Act, a juridical person, the Japan Judicial Support Center (known as "Houterasu") was established on April 10, 2006, as the core for that purpose. The Japan Judicial Support Center, which has its main office in Tokyo and its branch offices in cities where the main offices of respective district courts are located, started its services on October 2, 2006.
  Under collaboration and cooperation with related agencies and organizations, the Japan Judicial Support Center offers services to enhance information provision contributing to effective use of the system for legal dispute resolution, services to offer legal aid for civil affairs, services concerning legal business in areas with insufficient judicial services where there are difficulties in finding defense counsels, services to support crime victims, etc., and services concerning selection of court-appointed defense counsel.
  Concrete services concerning selection of court-appointed defense counsel are such that when it is necessary to select court-appointed defense counsel for suspects or defendants, the Japan Judicial Support Center shall, upon request from the court, notify the courts, etc. of defense counsels under contract to the Center as candidate court-appointed defense counsel, and have those selected as court-appointed defense counsel conduct the duties. Such services of the Center will ensure the right of suspects and defendants to receive support from defense counsels in a substantial manner and contribute to the realization of enhanced and prompt criminal trials by way of establishing a system where court-appointed defense counsel can be selected promptly and securely nationwide.