chapter
6 Pages

Introduction

ByErik Herber

Much is changing in the realm of Japanese criminal justice. To name just a few developments: in 2008 a system of victim participation was introduced. The year 2009 saw the introduction of a mixed lay judge system, in accordance with which lay and professional judges now together decide on defendants’ guilt and the appropriate sentence, for a specific category of serious offenses. Reforms enacted in 2017 have allowed for social workers to play an institutionalized part in providing support for often elderly and mentally disturbed repeat offenders. These and other developments have resulted in a growing involvement of legal “outsiders” – persons without legal training or background – in Japanese criminal justice. They join the ranks of other legal “outsiders” playing a part in Japanese criminal justice. These outsiders and their contributions are the focus of this book.