(Today’s post about how my chance to observe the lay judge trial was stolen is in Japanese only. For an overview of my experience in English, please check my photo album here. Feel free to leave comments in English!)
29 thoughts on “緊急提言：報道機関による裁判傍聴制度の乗っ取りを許さない Media stealing people’s right to observe trials due to ridiculous court rules”
Reminds me of McDonalds paying people to line up for a quaterpounder – though obviously this is a bit more serious.
Good suggestions, though. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I guess that after a while, this will cease to be an issue except for the high profile cases (i.e., those involving talent like Noriko Sakai’s husband, Kusanagi-kun, Manabu Oshio, et al.)
I recall Stephen Colbert doing a segment about this practice in the Washington lobbyist community — in fact, it even has a (short) Wikipedia article.
By the way, Adam, I am very disappointed that this happened to you. I would like to see you be the next Lawrence Repeta.
I agree with your suggestion 1, and I think they should make this change without telling anyone: just wait until the next popular trial and start stamping lottery winners’ hands with indelible ink on the spot. Then allow only the inked people in.
Also worth noting:
Reports of the first day mentioned that 2,400 people lined up to observe, but no one ever mentioned the fact that the media themselves were in fact paying probably a few hundred of them at least. They even interviewed some of them but apparently decided not to include anyone commenting that they were there for the money.
That’s some high quality outraged Japanese there Adamu.
その権利を奪ってはいけない。You have the “irate voice of the people” down.
Yep, I knew he wasn’t kidding when he wrote 本気で憤りを覚えた
Four words of advice, Adamu:
Go back tomorrow, armed.
Wouldn’t it be funny if like 200 gaijin showed up?
“Go back tomorrow, armed.”
So if I understand the rules correctly… can you beat someone down and take their envelope?
Sorry, seiriken. I’ll take the envelopes.
I saw two or three other white guys in line with me. Didn’t see any of them lining up to collect cash though.
Yes I could have swiped the women’s tickets in the above picture, but it didn’t occur to me. And anyway, the media were all over the place. I don’t want to get in the news as a wild courtroom observing maniac.
Another option could be to hide the tickets inside chocolate bars and ship them to random stores throughout the country.
Yes you can get the envelopes too but that would be a straight up robbery.
“Yes you can get the envelopes too but that would be a straight up robbery.”
Guess I’ll stick to knocking over drunk foreigners in Roppongi.
Why not just hold up a sign saying you’ll offer double what the news outlets are paying? That way you get your ticket *and* you get to embarrass them.
Well I am not sure what they are making for the service. I am guessing it’s somewhere around 5000-10000 yen, and I don’t want to see the trial THAT much
More people would get in touch with info on trial through media,far,far many more than those of whom lined up in the court.No?
But do they really need to get info on the trial from Tokudane?
That’s exactly the kind program the Joe Japanese watches,who are also skeptical about jury system and likely be the one to picked up for the task.
Fair enough. Are Sponichi and that type trying to get in, I wonder?
I agree Aceface, which is why I suggested letting reporters in with special passes (I’d open those to a lottery as well, open to freelance journalists, citizen media and bloggers in addition to TV and newspapers). At the same time, letting the public witness trials is a good way to get them more familiar with and interested in the law, so that’s why it makes me mad that reporters are forced to try and undermine that system to get their stories.
On the bright side, it does give laid off temp-workers something to do…
They should do this instead –
I encountered the “line stander” thing Joe mentioned when I was working in DC. I used to see all these bike messenger-looking guys lining up outside rooms on the hill for trade-related hearings. I wondered what they were doing until one day I ran into a colleague inside a hearing; he asked me if I hired a “line stander” so I didn’t have to spend the extra 30-60 minutes waiting to get into the hearing myself. I agree with you that this is a BS practice, but even more so in the case you described. Probably the only reason it doesn’t happen with the media at hearings on the Hill is becuase they are allowed to attend through a seperate system from the public, which is similar to what you seem to be getting at.
On a slightly related note, (and you might also remeber this from your DC days), some labor unions frequently hire homeless people to march back and forth in front of buildings banging on drums or metal objects and chanting “hey, hey, ho, ho company x has got to go” or some silly variant thereof. The target buildings usually house construction companies with which the union has a beef. I suppose the idea is to shame the companies into submission. They even have a giant (12 feet tall, or so) inflatable rat with a disturbingly nippled and hairless belly they they sometimes inflate in front of the building. I often chucked at the irony of a union complaining about labor rights and the mistreatment of workers and then hiring homeless people to march in their protest. I guess if you think about it, the homeless are the “linewalkers” of the union employees who don’t want to go out and march themselves.
M-bone, that was beautiful. Does it actually refer to anything or is it just random?
From time to time I use Google images to search for “funny pictures” or 面白い写真 when I have some time to kill. I stumbled onto that one and just had to share. Found it here –
Another moonlighting opportunity:
By the way:
Now they have a band that gets handed out, instead of a slip of paper. This is to prevent long waits, and people taking multiple tickets, but it seems that it would also prevent the problem that Adamu ran into.
OK that is interesting, thanks for the link. I can only hope they made this decision after reading my urgent emergency proposal. Still, I have my doubts.
The article isn’t clear as to whether the wristbands need to be on all the way through the time when you enter the courtroom, or whether you can take them off after checking whether you’ve won the drawing. If it’s the latter, they could still hand out transferable tickets which would change nothing.
Also, I don’t know how they do things in Saitama, but at the Tokyo Regional Courthouse this supposed problem of waiting for “hours” after you receive the lottery ticket simply doesn’t exist. People were waiting outside before the tickets were handed out, and the court staff only started handing out the tickets about a half hour before the drawing. That meant that there was no reason to show up early. As long as you were there during the time the tickets were being handed out you were assured a chance. But it is true that once you receive the ticket you have to wait in a designated area until the drawing begins. That was pretty annoying and could be dangerous if a stampede erupted for some reason.
It’s entirely possible that the Saitama court was running a very ungainly lottery system that kept people waiting for no good reason, and this wristband idea only fixes the waiting time problem but doesn’t actually prevent the media from gaming the system.
“or whether you can take them off after checking whether you’ve won the drawing.”
I think the article says that if you try to take them off, it leaves ink marks. From the picture, they look similar to “all-day ride passes” that they use in amusement parks. Those things are a bitch to get off and even if you can manage to they look kinda loose.
I think you are right about the type of bracelet. I hate those things! Here’s hoping they really are intended to be worn all day long. When I get a chance it would be interesting to see whether any of the 傍聴 bloggers had a comment on this.
Still, I don’t see anything on there about ink. Apparently the wristband is made of “water-resistant paper” and will destroy your number if you try and force it off.
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