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The Supreme Court said Thursday it cannot promise that courts will not reveal the names of victims of alleged sex crimes to candidates undergoing the selection process for citizen judges.

The position was revealed at a meeting held by top court officials and alleged sex crime victims and their supporters to discuss privacy issues, since unselected candidates aren’t obliged to keep information received during the selection process secret.

To help protect victims’ privacy, the courts will try as much as possible to limit the number of candidates who are given their names, a Supreme Court official was quoted as saying by Hisako Motoyama, executive director of the Asia-Japan Women’s Resource Center.

Under the lay judge system, which began May 21, courts are expected to call about 50 to 100 candidates for each case they get and basically whittle them down to a group of six.

Relatives of either the defendant or the plaintiff, or those with close ties to them, will of course be banned from lay judge duty. But identification of sex crime victims may be necessary to prevent conflicts of interest.

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