Some 72 percent of respondents in a recent survey said they would be willing to act as jurors if a quasi-jury system being contemplated by the government is introduced — as long as the trial did not run longer than three days.
Only 27 percent of the 417 company employees who responded said they would be willing to serve as jurors if the trial ran up to a week, according to the survey conducted by the Civil Society for Justice by Lay Judges, which released the preliminary results Wednesday.
Questionnaires were mailed to 3,000 workers and managers at 75 randomly selected firms. The group said it hopes to release the full result later this year.
The government is considering introducing a jury system in which citizens and judges would together deliberate cases.
Many of the pollees said they needed more information about the planned system, and said they would need to be notified at least one or two months in advance, the group said.
Managers of some of the firms said they will need subsidies and a system to employ replacement staff while employees are serving as jurors.
Tadaari Katayama, head of the group, said the survey tried to cover ordinary people because earlier questionnaires carried out by judicial authorities focused on the views of people already familiar with the proposed system.
He said he was “pleasantly surprised” that more than half, or 53.1 percent, of the employees polled said they were aware of the system.
But many of the pollees said they would have to be fully informed about the system before they could participate, with 78.4 percent saying the government should teach the population about the system in compulsory education.
About 60 percent said they felt that the current judiciary system was too complicated for ordinary people to understand, while more than 70 percent felt that court proceedings are too time consuming.
The group said many of the corporate managers polled said they would prefer to decide how to cooperate with the proposed system only after it is fully understood by their employees.
Managers at some of the small and midsize companies, however, expressed opposition to the idea of penalizing workers who refuse to fulfill their duty as jurors or employers who prevent their employees from doing so.
Some of the managers said the workload at their firms is too heavy and that there is no way they could give employees time off to serve as jurors, the group said.
A bill on the quasi-jury system is expected to be submitted to the Diet next year. The government hopes to introduce the system in about five years.