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As Japan introduces the lay judge system in 2009, court-appointed lawyers with state funds will start being assigned to suspects for most crimes before indictment. Thus nationwide demand for lawyers will rise. The problem is that three-quarters of the some 23,100 lawyers in Japan are concentrated in six prefectures — Tokyo, Osaka, Aichi, Kanagawa, Fukuoka and Hyogo.

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations has started a project to increase the number of lawyers in the countryside. It is hoped that many lawyers will take part in the project so that people there can count on better legal services.

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