• Kyodo


Toyota Motor Corp. is considering giving its employees paid leave when they serve as lay judges.

Toyota already has special paid leave for employees who take public duties. Even so, the company wants to set a specific rule for the citizen judge system to lighten the burden on its employees in the event they are selected as lay judges, company officials said.

The new judicial system is to be launched by 2009.

Canon Inc. also is considering change to its employment system over the lay judge system, industry analysts said, adding the two companies could influence other firms to follow suit.

Under the 2004 judicial reform law, the lay judge system will be introduced in criminal trials by 2009. Citizen judges will be chosen at random from lists of eligible voters in a general election for the House of Representatives, regardless of their views, faith or abilities.

The system is aimed at making ordinary citizens feel closer to the criminal trial process and improving public trust in the judiciary.

However, a Supreme Court survey released in April found that three out five adults were reluctant to become citizen judges partly due to anxiety about receiving threats from people involved in the trials, and partly due to the inconvenience, such as taking time away from their job or child-raising duties.

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