01. News: May 2005 Archives

On March 28, 2004, the Osaka District Court ordered Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd. to pay roughly 63 million yen in compensation to four female employees. The women claimed they had been subjected to sexual discrimination in wages and promotions. In a series of sexual discrimination suits brought against the three companies of the Sumitomo Group, this is the first time that a court has ruled in favor of the female plaintiffs. However, Sumitomo Metal Industries has remained firm in their decision to lodge an appeal, and do not appear to show any signs of expressing an intention to reform their internal personnel management. This is an issue which reflects the dark side of certain Japanese corporations and demands urgent reform.

ICU Graduate School : Hirano, Ryo

In 2004, the Japanese Diet enacted a judicial reform law for a jury system to come into effect by the year 2009. Paving the way for public participation in the judicial process is a significant breakthrough for the realization of democratic ideals. However, there are still a number of unresolved problems with the jury system itself, one of which is the lack of a gender perspective. Legal gender research has called attention to the 'masculinity of the law'. The framework and the practice of law is based on male ideology and there is insufficient implementation of human rights policies for women or sexual minorities. Thus, a jury system must be gender equal and care must be taken not to allow the influence of gender bias in trials. Our group has actively pushed for the government to formulate legislation to address these issues. Although the legislation was not established, we have succeeded in increasing awareness and instigating debate regarding gender issues in a number of meetings of the Lower House Committee on Judicial Affairs.

Senshu Univ. Graduate School : Tamura, Naoko