60th JFBA General Meeting -Declaration on Judicial Reforms- JFBA 60th Anniversary
This year marks the 60th anniversary since the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) was founded under the newly established attorneys’ autonomy with the mission of attorneys being to protect fundamental human rights and realize social justice.
Since its foundation, the JFBA has been actively working for human rights in a wide range of fields based on the principles of the Constitution of Japan, and we are confident that the JFBA is significantly contributing to the improvement of human rights in Japan. Twenty years have passed since the JFBA began its efforts to reform the Japanese judicial system under the slogan “Justice for the People.”
The declaration and resolutions adopted at the JFBA Convention on Protection of Human Rights in 1989 advocated: 1. criminal justice reforms through improving and strengthening criminal defense, 2. provision of consumer rights relief and establishment of a consumer agency, and 3. participation of citizens in criminal trials. The JFBA also adopted a declaration on judicial reforms at its General Meeting in 1990. Since their adoption almost 20 years ago, these declarations and resolutions have been incorporated into the saiban-in (lay judge) system, the court-appointed attorney system for suspects, and the unified mechanism of consumer administration for protecting consumer rights.
For the JFBA, which had been voicing “Justice for the People,” the decade following the establishment of the Justice System Reform Council in the Cabinet in 1999 was especially remarkable due to the series of unprecedented reforms that were accomplished during that time.
Based on the recommendations issued by the Justice System Reform Council, the entire judicial system was drastically reformed, and related laws were enacted. The justice system reforms included the establishment of the saiban-in system, the law school system, and the Japan Legal Support Center. Now, the overall new judicial system has been evident since the saiban-in system and the court-appointed attorney system for suspects (under which court-appointed attorneys are provided for a much broader scope of cases) started on May 21, 2009.
The justice and legal community is aware that various problems with the new systems are appearing and need to be solved. At this critical period of judicial reform, the JFBA should make further efforts to achieve “Justice for the People” by supporting greater access to justice, civil and criminal justice reform, appropriate development of human resources (including determination of the proper number of legal professionals and what constitutes effective professional legal training and education), broadening of areas in which attorneys may practice law, and reform of the court and judge system.
On the occasion of this memorable year, the JFBA declares its commitment to achieving “Justice for the People,” and through our legal practices, we will support the new systems created by the judicial reforms. The JFBA will make every effort to improve the systems by solving actual problems and cooperate with citizens to further advance the judicial reforms.
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
May 29, 2009