OSAKA — The Osaka District Court on Friday turned down an 11 million yen damages suit filed against the state by a former legal trainee who claimed the Supreme Court rejected his application to become a judge based on discrimination.
Judge Yoshihiko Sato of the Osaka court dismissed the argument of the plaintiff, Naoki Kamisaka, that he had been discriminated against because of his political beliefs and principles.
The judge said the top court’s recruitment criteria that judges must be fair and neutral is “rational enough and not illegal.”
Sato also said that it was not illegal for instructors at Kamisaka’s judicial training center to advise him to give up pursuing a career as a judge, noting that the instructors did so based on Kamisaka’s aptitude and not his thoughts or principles.
Kamisaka, 36, applied to become a judge in January 1994 but was turned down by the Supreme Court in April the same year. The top court failed to provide any logical explanation for the rejection, he claimed.
Of the 105 legal trainees who completed the two-year training course at the Judicial Research and Training Institute that year and applied for the judge post, only Kamisaka was rejected.
Kamisaka claimed he was rejected because his mother had been involved in a legal battle against the state and Kamisaka himself had been assisting in the lawsuit.
Kamisaka’s mother was the leader of a group of plaintiffs who filed suit against the Minoo Municipal Government in Osaka Prefecture, saying the city violated the constitutional principle of separation of church and state by spending public money for religious purposes.
The Osaka District Court ruled the expenditure unconstitutional, but the decision was overruled by the Osaka High Court, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in February 1993.
Kamisaka filed the damages suit with the Osaka District Court in May 1995, claiming the Supreme Court dismissed his application because of his involvement in the Minoo lawsuit. He also said that during his training period, he had been repeatedly told by his instructors to give up his plan to become a judge.
After Friday’s ruling, Kamisaka denounced the court decision as unfair, adding that he would immediately appeal to a higher court.
The Supreme Court declined comment.
After his application to become a judge was initially rejected in April 1994, Kamisaka presented a formal objection to the top court in June the same year. This, too, was dismissed in less than two weeks without any reason given.
Kamisaka also filed an administrative suit against the government in July 1994, which was dismissed later that year by the Tokyo District Court without a single oral plea. The ruling was upheld by the Tokyo High Court and the Supreme Court in 1995.