President’s Message - as the Newly Elected President of the JFBA (April 1, 2014)
As the newly elected JFBA president, I have the following three main goals that I wish to realize during my two-year term:
The first objective is to realize a justice system which is more familiar and accessible to, and usable for the public by strengthening the role of justice and expanding the fields and scopes of practice for attorneys. In order to bring this about, we need to: (i) improve our judicial foundations, including by way of increasing the number of judges and further enhancing the functions of branch courts; (ii) improve access to justice, including by way of enhancing legal aid, extending the scope of areas covered by legal expenses insurance, and enhancing legal consultation; and (iii) further develop new practice fields for attorneys.
The second objective is to reform the Professional Legal Training System (the “System”) and the system for supporting young legal professionals. The following issues should be immediately dealt with in order to restore the magnetism of the legal profession and the public’s confidence in the System: (i) conducting a reform including a decrease in the quota of students at law schools and the abolition or merger of a number of law schools; (ii) an urgent decrease in the number of persons passing the bar exam to 1,500 or fewer per year (iii) enhancement of financial support for judicial trainees, including the revival of the allowance payment system; and (iv) providing a variety of support to younger JFBA members.
The third objective is to protect the Constitution of Japan and human rights. No regression of the core principles of Constitutionalism and permanent pacifism should be accepted.
The situations both inside and outside of the JFBA are extremely harsh and challenging and we are facing great hardships. In such circumstances, it will be difficult to realize the policies that have been proposed by the JFBA unless we strongly unite together as a team.
I will do my utmost to establish a “JFBA which has the ability to realize expectations from the members and the broader society” based on the confidence and understanding of society, closely-knit consultations between judges, public prosecutors and attorneys built on the mutual trust therebetween, and the strong bond among JFBA members and bar associations. Furthermore, I will put every effort into making further progress on all other types of issues we have.
By Susumu Murakoshi, JFBA President