Asian Judges Cross Continents, Legal Traditions
| 1 - 2
EAST ASIA MET WEST PHILADELPHIA this fall, as two South Korean Judges and one Japanese Judge attended Penn Law as visiting students. Woo-jin Shin, Dae-kwon Yang, and Kimikazu
Murakawa were selected by their countries’ Supreme Courts to participate in year-long overseas training programs.
The three young jurists were here to broaden their general understanding of the American legal system, but they each found themselves focusing on the same aspect of US law: the
jury. Neither South Korea nor Japan employs juries, but both nations are considering jury systems as a balance to the power of judges.
Kimikazu Murakawa, who has served as a district judge in the Japanese cities of Osaka and Saga, remains ambivalent about a Japanese jury system. “I think the most important
advantage of a jury system is that it provides a democratic basis to the judicial branch and justifies the judiciary’s decisions,” he said. “But the jury system may be
inferior to a judge system in terms of consistency and unity of the decisions.”