The Convergence of Forces
Chapter 11: Final thoughts and necessary preparations
Japan’s decision to introduce the new system of lay adjudication in 2004 and its implementation in 2009 took place within a global trend of judicial reform that was sweeping many countries. Historical analysis demonstrates that lay adjudicatory systems have emerged repeatedly across the world as symbols of democratic ideals in times of significant social change and political transformation. Like in the case of Japan, judicial reform and citizen involvement in government have also been viewed as a means of spurring private sector economic activity by reducing governmental influence and power. The current wave of judicial reform and public participation emerged after the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Since that time, many former Soviet republics and neighboring countries, including Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan revamped their legal systems and progressively moved to introduce lay adjudication or enhance citizen involvement in government. The socio-political transformation caused by the removal of authoritarian regimes in some countries and the liberation from governmental domination in others also led to the adoption of lay adjudication systems in South America, Africa and the southeastern regions of Europe. The history of lay adjudication systems indicates that the enthusiasm for democratic rule can wane over time due to efforts of the political elite to seize greater power, high logistical costs, misconceptions, or simple complacency.
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