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JLSC(Houterasu) is a public agency that assures the access to justice throughout the country.

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History of the JLSC

Background behind the establishment of the JLSC

Structural reform of society and the economy
The shift from an ex ante regulation society to an ex post facto check society

[ Issues ]

  • Transitioning from an ex ante regulation society to an ex post facto check society
  • Inadequate avenues of receiving consultation that guide the way to proper resolution of disputes
  • Insufficient coordination between the consulting aspect and the actual providing of legal services
  • There are still many regions with no attorneya.
  • Rapid increase in cases where legal aid is needed but are not provided due to economic reasons
  • Difficulty in responding adequately to intensive deliberations of criminal trials, including the introduction of court-appointed counsel system for suspects, and the citizen judge system

The necessity of reforming the judicial system
Establishing a proper, prompt, reliable, easy to use and accessible judicial system

Recommendations of the Justice System Reform Council (June 12, 2001)
Plan for Promotion of Justice System Reform (approved by the Cabinet on March 19, 2002)

  • Expansion of civil legal aid
  • Enhancing judicial access points, and the provision of comprehensive legal information through the promotion of networks
  • Development of a public defense system for suspects and defendants (create a fair and neutral entity and funnel public funds into it).

Summary of comment by Prime Minister Koizumi, July 2002 - July 2003 (Advisory Board on the Office for Promotion of Justice System Reform)

  • The judiciary must be within close reach of the people.
  • It is necessary to develop a legal network by establishing points of contact where they can readily receive advice and providing comprehensive legal services where citizens who have legal disputes are able to receive judicial remedy anywhere in Japan.
  • Please swiftly begin the process of investigating how cooperation or coordination of related services with the actual operations of a center to be established as the core of a ?judicial network? should take place.

Comprehensive Legal Support Act was enacted (promulgated on June 2, 2004)

Japan Legal Support Center was established (April 10, 2006)

Chronology of the JLSC

Year

Month/day

Events

1999JulyThe Justice System Reform Council was established within the Cabinet.
2001JuneThe Justice System Reform Council submitted the Recommendation to the Cabinet.
 DecemberThe Office for the Promotion of the Justice System Reform was established within the Cabinet.
2002MarchThe Cabinet approval of the Plan for Promotion of Justice System Reform.
2004JuneThe Comprehensive Legal Support Act is promulgated.
2005SeptemberThe logo and the nickname"Houterasu" was announced.
2006Apr.10Japan Legal Support Center was launched.
  Ms.Kanehira became the first president.
 Apr.28The Minister of Justice approved the first mid-term plan of the JLSC.
 May.25The Minister of Justice approved the Operational Method Statement, the Rules for the Handling the Legal Affairs and the Contract Concerning Affairs Handled by Court-Appointed Defense Counsels.
 Oct.2The JLSC began its operations.
  The Minister of Justice approved the JLSC’s succession of rights and obligations from the Japan Legal Aid Association.
2007Mar.19Pursuant to the Article 30, Paragraph 2 of the Comprehensive Legal Support Act, the Minister of Justice approved the changes of the Operational Method Statement in order to allow the JLSC to be entrusted some services by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) and the Assistance Fund For Remaining Japanese Orphans in China.
 Oct.1The entrusted services by JFBA began.
 Oct.30The Minister of Justice approved the Contract Concerning the Affairs Handled by the Official Attendant who is an Attorney for Juveniles.
 Nov.1The operations on the official attendant who is an attorney for juveniles began.
2008Apr.10Mr. Kazuhiro Terai became the president.
He established the Advisory Board.
 Nov.13The Minister of Justice approved the Contract Concerning the Affairs Handled by the Court-appointed Attorneys for Victims.
 Dec.1The operations on the court-appointed attorneys for victims began.
2009May.21Saibanin Trial (quasi jury trial in criminal cases) began to be operated.
  The scope of the court-appointed defense counsel for the detained suspects was expanded.
2010Feb.25The accumulative number of calls to the Call Center reached 1,000,000.
 Mar.30The Minister of Justice approved the Second Mid-term Plan.
 Dec.1The Call Center in Sendai started receiving the calls.
2011Mar.11The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred.
 Apr.10Mr. Go Kajitani became the president.
 Oct.2In Miyagi Prefecture, Minamisanriku sub-branch office especially for the victims of the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear disaster opened (the following sub-branch in Tohoku area have the same aim).
 Nov.1Toll-free phone consultation service (“Houterasu Disaster Dial”) for the disaster victims was launched.
2012Apr.1The Act Concerning Special Measures on Legal Aid by Japan Legal Support Center for the Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake was enacted.
 Apr.2The operation on the legal aid for the victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake started in the all offices.
2013Jan.7The accumulative number of calls to the Call Center reached 2,000,000.
2014Apr.10Mr. Makoto Miyazaki became the president.
 Jun.18The scope of the official attendant who is an attorney for juveniles was expanded.
2015Mar.31The duration of the Act Concerning Special Measures on Legal Aid by Japan Legal Support Center for the Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake was extended to March 31, 2018.
2016Feb.18The accumulative number of calls to the Call Center reached 3,000,000.
 Apr.14Kumamoto Earthquake occurred.
 May.27The Comprehensive Legal Support Act was revised in the Congress (promulgated on June 3)-four tasks were added as the operations of the JLSC.
 Jul.1Free legal consultations for the victims of Kumamoto earthquake started.
2017JanuaryThe accumulative number of Civil Legal Aid (representation aid and documentation aid) cases reached 1,000,000.
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