• Kyodo


The Cabinet on Friday tapped Supreme Court Justice Naoto Otani, the architect of Japan’s lay judge system, to be head of the top court starting next month.

Otani, 65, will succeed Itsuro Terada as chief justice after Terada, 69, retires in January.

He is known for his role in designing the lay judge system, launched in 2009, while working at the general secretariat of the Supreme Court.

Otani, a native of Hokkaido, became an assistant judge in 1977 after graduating from the University of Tokyo. He became one of the 15 justices on the Supreme Court in February 2015 after heading the Osaka High Court and the Shizuoka District Court.

Otani’s term as chief justice will run through June 2022, when he reaches the retirement age of 70.

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