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Seventy-four new law schools have been established since 2004 under a reform policy for the legal profession. A new bar exam was introduced for graduates from these schools while the traditional bar exam, open to anybody, was continued. The latter, which had a history of more than 60 years, came to an end recently. It is important that the government improve the new bar exam so that passing it signifies competence in lawyers, judges and public prosecutors.

The government pushed a plan to let some 3,000 applicants pass the new bar exam to be held around 2010. The plan was based on the view of the government’s judiciary reform panel that Japan should have a large number of people in legal profession who have wide social experience, expert knowledge in legal matters and a keen sense of human rights. But in 2010, only 2,133 people passed the exam.

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