Resolution Aiming at the Judicial Reform Integrating Gender Perspectives Adopted at the 53rd JFBA General Meeting
The Basic Law for a Gender-Equal Society proclaims in its preamble that the realization of a gender-equal society in which people are able to exercise personality and abilities regardless of gender is positioned as a top-priority task in determining the framework of Japan in the 21st century.
The elimination of gender discrimination is also one of the priority issues in the international community and the Fourth World Conference on Women held in 1995 adopted the Platform for Action requesting the integration of gender perspectives in all policies and plans in order to remove work roles on the basis of gender, gender stereotypes, and gender bias.
The gender bias also exists in justice systems. Especially, we should pay special attention to the facts that judicial decisions significantly affect on individual human rights, that justice could re-produce a gender bias through establishing criteria for judgment, and that people who seek redress from the court could receive secondary damage due to the gender bias by being unfairly criticized for using justice.
However, the on-going judicial reform in Japan has not paid attention to gender perspectives. The judicial reform is unable to attain its goal suitable for Japan in the 21st century unless it incorporates the realization of gender equality.
In order to integrate gender perspectives into the judicial reform, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) resolves to strive to promote awareness campaigns including the collection and analysis of data on gender discrimination in justice and the publication of recommendations for improvement, to develop awareness raising and educational programs on gender issues and make these programs to be mandatory for those who engage in or will engage in justice to ensure that justice functions to prohibit gender discrimination, and to take positive actions for ensuring the participation of women in decision-making in justice and the realization of gender equality. The JFBA also urges the authorities concerned including courts and the Ministry of Justice to take following measures.
- To collect and analyze data on gender discrimination in justice, promote awareness campaigns, develop educational programs, make training compulsory, and take positive actions;
- To review and immediately take necessary measures from gender perspectives to improve all judicial procedures including the protection of privacy in criminal trials, interrogations, and every stage of civil procedures concerning sexual violence and sexual harassment cases, the conciliation-first principle of divorce cases including those cases involving domestic violence cases, the evidence collection procedures and the burden of proof for gender discrimination cases, and the civil execution system for child support;
- To immediately take measures to remove obstacles for women to access to justice, including the realization of effective remedies for victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment, the improvement of institutions for alternative dispute resolution and their alliance with justice, the enhancement of support of local governments for trials, and the review of the legal aid/ in forma pauperis systems.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
May 24, 2002