Japan holds 1st criminal jury trial since WWII - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Japan holds 1st criminal jury trial since WWII


TOKYO (AP) -- Japan hasn't had a jury trial since World War II but that changes today under a major overhaul of a legal system that has often been criticized as unfair and arduous.

Six jurors are working with three judges to hand down a verdict for a 72-year-old man charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of a 66-year-old neighbor in May.

Until today, Japanese trials have been decided by judges and have long been criticized as lacking in transparency and taking years to reach a verdict.

The president of Japan's Bar Association says that, with the arrival of a jury trial, Japanese citizens will have a chance to play a bigger role in doling out justice.

But some people are still reluctant to serve on a jury, calling it a heavy responsibility to pronounce judgment on others.

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