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COVID-19 Triggers Calls for Altering Lay Judge System

COVID-19 Triggers Calls for Altering Lay Judge System

   Tokyo, May 20 (Jiji Press)--Calls are mounting for Japan's lay judge system to be revised or implemented flexibly amid the novel coronavirus epidemic, with the system marking 11 years since its introduction on Thursday.
   Lay judge trials have restarted in some regions after being suspended nationwide to prevent the spread of the virus. Some argued that the halt deprived defendants of the right to a swift trial.
   At Matsue District Court in Shimane Prefecture, western Japan, the first hearing of a case involving dangerous driving resulting in death was held Monday. It was the first case to be heard since the government declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus, informed sources said.
   According to the sources, the six lay judges were seated with acrylic plates set up between them, while two supplementary judges were seated with some distance between them.
   Only about a third of the usual number of people sat in the visitors' gallery. District court officials opened the doors during recess and ventilated the room with electric fans.

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AFP-JIJI PRESS NEWS JOURNAL


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