Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lay Judges in Japan Take Part in News Conference

Many observers (including Japanese observers) wondered if cultural attitudes in Japan would make lay judges there passive and ineffective. And some Japanese citizens and jurors persist in saying that Japanese citizens really don't like the idea of being jurors. But is this sentiment -- the notion that ordinary Japanese people are quiet and withdrawn in social settings -- just a piety? I raise this question (again) -- this time because after the second trial with lay judges, all six of the lay judges and both of the two alternate lay judges agreed to take part in a news conference. The Japan Times Online reported:
All six lay judges and two alternates attended a news conference after the trial. Five agreed to be photographed by reporters and two gave their names.

"I've been quite tired. I don't think I want to do it again," said Kenji Kikuchi, smiling during the news conference.

Question: What do you make of Kenji Kikuchi's smile as he (she) spoke? Do you think it's possible he (she) was enjoying himself (herself)?


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