• Kyodo News


Prosecutors nationwide have indicted 134 people so far to be tried under the new lay judge system, with the first two trials scheduled for the first half of August in Tokyo and Saitama, according to a Kyodo News tally.

The most common charge is robbery resulting in injury at 34, followed by murder at 32, drug violations at 17, arson at 10 and injury resulting in death at nine.

As of Friday, 42 district courts and their branches were scheduled to hold lay judge trials.

The first, involving a 72-year-old man charged with murdering a neighbor, is scheduled for Aug. 3 to 6 at the Tokyo District Court.

Katsuyoshi Fujii allegedly stabbed Haruko Bun, 66, a South Korean resident of Japan, to death May 1 on a road in Adachi Ward.

Fujii has allegedly told the police he lost his temper after some plastic bottles filled with water in front of his home were knocked over by a motorcycle owned by Bun’s son.

Many people place plastic bottles around their garages, gardens and planters under the false belief that light reflected from them will scare off stray cats.

Before the stabbing, Fujii had already become a public nuisance in the neighborhood, according to some residents in the area. He reportedly was often seen cursing loudly at other residents.

The second case involves a 35-year-old man who works demolishing buildings. He has been indicted for attempted murder. His trial will be held at the Saitama District Court from Aug. 10 to 12.

Shigeyuki Miyake has been charged with seriously injuring a 35-year-old acquaintance with a kitchen knife in a parking lot at a game arcade in Sayama on May 4. According to the prosecutors, Miyake had money trouble with the man.

Under the new trial system, six people randomly selected from eligible voters will sit alongside three professional judges on trials involving serious crimes.

Among crimes subject to lay judge trials are murder, murder-robbery, rape, arson, counterfeiting, selling narcotics and violating gun regulations.

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