Beyond Independence and Accountability
Edited by Richard Devlin and Adam Dodek
Chapter 13: Regulating judges, Japanese-style: the prevalence of informal mechanisms
In Japan the interaction between institutional and informal mechanisms results in a de facto regulatory regime for judges. This contributes to judicial conservatism in politically sensitive cases and deviation from the underpinning values (such as judicial independence, impartiality and representativeness) of the foreign-influenced de jure regulatory regime that was established during the post-war Allied Occupation. But the public does not expect such values. Judicial conservatism has not caused public dissatisfaction or lack of confidence in the judiciary. At the same time, interference from the executive government is unlikely. Therefore, without a change in the public’s ideology, judicial conservatism in Japan will continue unabated.
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