Japan Times FYI on Supreme Court

I’m not a big fan of the Japan Supreme Court, as my experience with it was when they summarily ruled that the Otaru Onsens Case (which involved racial discrimination, Japan Constitution Article 14) was “unrelated to constitutional issues”. This after only a couple of months of deliberation (it usually takes many years for rulings to come down).

It also refused to hear the case for Gwen Gallagher vs. Asahikawa University case, where she was fired for not being “fresh” (their words) enough to teach. And also, given Japan’s lower court rulings, because she’s a woman.

Yes, the JSC does sometimes issue miraculous rulings, such as this recent one regarding international children and J citizenship laws (causing some speculation that the JSC is in fact becoming more liberal; a bit premature IMO). But given the odd conservatism seen otherwise (such as the Chong-san case a few years back, ruling that denying a Zainichi the right to sit Tokyo medical administrative exams, merely because she’s a foreigner, is constitutional), that’s why they’re miraculous.

Anyway, read on. My favorite bit is at the end on how we can vote on Supreme Court justices. (I’ve done so when I voted.) It’s not much of an indicator–abstaining from voting for someone is counted as a “yes” vote (yes, I asked), meaning it’s not a majority of “yes” vs “no” votes, it’s “yes and no vote” vs “no” votes, meaning it’s highly unlikely the public could ever turf out a Robert Bork type. In other words, it’s a sham. And it’s never denied a JSC appointment, as the article indicates.