Rieko KAGE UTokyo lecture "The Politics of Judicial Reform in Japan, " February 21, 2019

Gregory Noble's picture
February 21, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Japanese History / Studies, Law and Legal History, Political Science

The Contemporary Japan Group at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Social Science

(ISS, or Shaken), welcomes you to a lecture by


Rieko KAGE

(Tokyo University)


The Politics of Judicial Reform in Japan



Thursday, February 21 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Akamon Sōgō Kenkyūtō Room 549, Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo, Hongo Campus, University of Tokyo



The delivery of justice is a core function of the modern state. The recent introduction of jury/lay judge systems for criminal trials in Japan, South Korea, Spain, and perhaps soon Taiwan represents a potentially major reform of this core function, shifting decision making authority from professional judges to ordinary citizens. But the four countries chose to empower their citizens to markedly different degrees. Why? Drawing on detailed theoretical analysis, original case studies, and content analysis of fifty years of Japanese parliamentary debates, I show that the relative power of 'new left'-oriented political parties explains the different magnitudes of reform in the four countries. The talk also offers a comparative analysis of the Japanese lay judge reform and another major reform that was enacted in the early 2000s, administrative litigation reform.


Rieko Kage is associate professor of political science at the Department of Advanced Social and International Studies, University of Tokyo. She is the author of Who Judges?  Designing Jury Systems in Japan, East Asia, and Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and Civic Engagement in Postwar Japan: The Revival of a Defeated Society (Cambridge University Press, 2011).  Her articles have appeared in Comparative Political Studies, the British Journal of Political Science, Political Psychology, among other journals.  She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Kyoto University and her Ph.D. from Harvard University.


The ISS Contemporary Japan Group provides English-speaking residents of the Tokyo area with an opportunity to hear cutting-edge research in social science and related policy issues, as well as a venue for researchers and professionals in or visiting Tokyo to present and receive knowledgeable feedback on their latest research projects. Admission is free and advance registration is not required. Everyone is welcome.
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or contact
Gregory W. NOBLE (noble@iss.u-tokyo.ac.jp)