List of Justices of the Supreme Court of Japan

The Supreme Court of Japan is the highest court in Japan, composed of fifteen justices. The Chief Justice is nominated by the Cabinet and appointed to office by the Emperor, while associate justices are appointed by the Cabinet in attestation of the Emperor. The Judiciary Act fixes the total number of justices at 15, but allows the Court itself to specify how many justices sit on a petty bench. By law, at least ten out of the fifteen justices must have either ten years of combined experience as judges, or twenty years of combined experience as judges, lawyers, or professors.[1]:1377

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Japan's bar associations are careful to select lawyers whose terms will be shorter than those of nominated former judges. (Potential justices are often 64 years old or above.)[2] This causes quick turnover of justices, which has resulted in a perception of the Court as a "nameless, faceless judiciary."[3]

After appointment, Supreme Court justices are subject to a "people's review": an automatic retention referendum in which the voters may remove the judge from office. A people's review occurs at the first election to the House of Representatives after a justice assumes office, when the question of whether his tenure should continue is put to voters on the ballot. The Supreme Court justice is then subject to a further people's review at the first lower house election after every ten years. As of April 2019, no Supreme Court justice has ever been dismissed by a people's review.[4]

Justices

This is a list of all 179 current and former justices of the modern Supreme Court of Japan.[5]

Title Name Term start Term end Term length University Notes
Chief Justice Naoto Ōtani February 17, 2015 4 years, 304 days Tokyo Former judge. President, Osaka High Court
Justice Atsushi Yamaguchi February 6, 2017 2 years, 315 days Tokyo Former attorney; member, Dai-ichi Tokyo Bar Association
Justice Kiyoko Okabe April 12, 2010 9 years, 250 days Keio Former judge; professor, Keio University School of Law
Justice Tsuneyuki Yamamoto August 20, 2013 6 years, 120 days Kyoto Civil servant. Director-General, the Cabinet Legislation Bureau
Justice Toshimitsu Yamasaki April 1, 2014 5 years, 261 days Tokyo Former assistant judge; President, Tokyo High Court.
Justice Masayuki Ikegami October 2, 2014 5 years, 77 days Tohoku Former prosecutor, Osaka High Public Prosecutors Office.
Justice Hiroshi Koike April 2, 2015 4 years, 260 days Tokyo Former assistant judge; President, Tokyo High Court
Justice Katsuyuki Kizawa July 19, 2016 3 years, 152 days Rikkyo Former attorney; Inspector of Kake Educational Institution
Justice Hiroyuki Kanno September 5, 2016 3 years, 104 days Tohoku Former judge; President, Osaka High Court
Justice Saburo Tokura March 14, 2017 2 years, 279 days Hitotsubashi Judge; President, Tokyo High Court
Justice Keiichi Hayashi April 10, 2017 2 years, 252 days Kyoto Diplomat, Ambassador to the United Kingdom
Justice Yuko Miyazaki January 9, 2018 1 year, 343 days Tokyo Professor, University of Tokyo
Justice Takuya Miyama January 9, 2018 1 year, 343 days Tokyo Judge; President, Tokyo High Court
Justice Mamoru Miura February 26, 2018 1 year, 295 days Tokyo Prosecutor, Osaka High Public Prosecutors Office
Justice Koichi Kusano February 13, 2019 308 days Keio
Justice Takehiko Otani June 17, 2010 March 9, 2017 6 years, 265 days Tokyo Former judge. President, Osaka High Court.
Justice Masaharu Ōhashi February 13, 2012 March 30, 2017 5 years, 45 days Tokyo Attorney; official in the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA)
Justice Yoshinobu Onuki April 11, 2012 January 16, 2018 5 years, 280 days Chuo Prosecutor; professor, Asia University
Justice Kaoru Onimaru February 6, 2013 February 6, 2019 6 years, 0 days Tokyo Attorney; Chairperson of the Special Committee on the Rights of the Aged and Disabled
Justice Michiyoshi Kiuchi April 25, 2013 January 1, 2018 4 years, 251 days Tokyo Attorney; Chairperson of the Project Team on the Hague Convention
Justice Katsumi Chiba December 28, 2009 August 24, 2016 6 years, 240 days Tokyo Judge; President, Sendai High Court
Justice Koji Miyakawa[3] September 3, 2008 February 27, 2012 3 years, 177 days Nagoya[6] Instructor at the Legal Training and Research Institute; attorney[6]
Justice Tokuji Izumi[7] November 6, 2002 January 24, 2009 6 years, 79 days Kyoto Judge; President, Tokyo High Court
Chief Justice Niro Shimada[8] November 7, 2002 November 21, 2008 6 years, 14 days Tokyo Judge; President, Osaka High Court
Justice Kazuko Yokoo[9] December 19, 2001 September 11, 2008 6 years, 267 days ICU Diplomat; Ambassador of Japan to Ireland
Justice Chiharu Saiguchi[9] January 6, 2004 September 2, 2008 4 years, 240 days Chūō Attorney; Member, Advisory Committee on Civil Rules of the Supreme Court
Justice Osamu Tsuno[9] February 26, 2004 October 19, 2008 4 years, 236 days Kyoto Bureaucrat; attorney; Director-General, Cabinet Legislation Bureau
Justice Shigeo Takii[9] June 11, 2002 October 30, 2006 4 years, 141 days Kyoto[10] Attorney[10]
Justice Kohei Nasu May 25, 2006 February 10, 2012 5 years, 261 days Tokyo Attorney; Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Research of Japan Law Foundation
Justice Yoshiki Yamaura March 1, 2012 July 3, 2016 4 years, 124 days Hitotsubashi
Chief Justice Itsuro Terada December 27, 2012 January 8, 2018 5 years, 12 days Tokyo[11] Judge; son of 10th Chief Justice Jiro Terada.[12]
Justice Yuu Shiraki January 15, 2010 February 14, 2015 5 years, 30 days
Justice Tomoyuki Yokota January 6, 2010 October 1, 2014 4 years, 268 days Chuo
Justice Masahiko Sudo December 28, 2009 December 26, 2012 2 years, 364 days Chuo[13]
Justice Seishi Kanetsuki January 26, 2009 March 31, 2015 6 years, 64 days Tokyo[14] Judge; former President, Osaka High Court.[14]
Chief Justice Hironobu Takesaki November 25, 2008 March 31, 2014 5 years, 126 days
Justice Yukio Takeuchi October 21, 2008 July 19, 2013 4 years, 271 days Kyoto
Justice Ryuko Sakurai September 11, 2008 January 15, 2017 8 years, 126 days Kyushu
Justice Takaharu Kondo May 23, 2007 November 21, 2010 3 years, 182 days
Justice Mutsuo Tahara November 1, 2006 April 22, 2013 6 years, 172 days Kyoto
Justice Norio Wakui October 16, 2006 December 17, 2009 3 years, 62 days Kyoto
Justice Yuki Furuta August 2, 2005 April 7, 2012 6 years, 249 days
Justice Yukio Horigome May 17, 2005 June 15, 2010 5 years, 29 days
Justice Ryoji Nakagawa January 19, 2005 December 22, 2009 4 years, 337 days Kanazawa
Justice Isao Imai December 27, 2004 December 25, 2009 4 years, 363 days Kyoto
Justice Tatsuo Kainaka October 7, 2002 January 1, 2010 7 years, 86 days Chuo
Justice Tokiyasu Fujita September 30, 2002 April 5, 2010 7 years, 187 days
Justice Toyozo Ueda February 21, 2002 May 22, 2007 5 years, 90 days
Justice Kunio Hamada May 1, 2001 May 23, 2006 5 years, 22 days
Justice Takehisa Fukuzawa September 14, 2000 January 4, 2004 3 years, 112 days
Chief Justice Akira Machida March 22, 2000 October 15, 2006 6 years, 207 days
Justice Gen Kajitani April 21, 1999 January 14, 2005 5 years, 268 days
Justice Masamichi Okuda April 1, 1999 September 27, 2002 3 years, 179 days
Justice Tsugio Kameyama December 4, 1998 February 25, 2004 5 years, 83 days
Justice Hiroharu Kitagawa September 10, 1998 December 26, 2004 6 years, 107 days
Justice Toshihiro Kanatani October 31, 1997 May 16, 2005 7 years, 197 days
Justice Takao Ode September 24, 1997 December 19, 2001 4 years, 86 days
Justice Toshifumi Motohara September 8, 1997 April 21, 2001 3 years, 225 days
Chief Justice Shigeru Yamaguchi March 10, 1997 November 3, 2002 5 years, 238 days
Justice Masao Fujii November 7, 1995 November 6, 2002 6 years, 364 days
Justice Hiroshi Fukuda September 4, 1995 August 1, 2005 9 years, 331 days
Justice Kazutomo Ijima August 11, 1995 October 6, 2002 7 years, 56 days
Justice Mitsuo Endo February 13, 1995 September 12, 2000 5 years, 212 days
Justice Shinichi Kawai July 25, 1994 June 10, 2002 7 years, 320 days
Justice Yukinobu Ozaki February 16, 1994 April 18, 1999 5 years, 61 days
Justice Hisako Takahashi February 9, 1994 September 20, 1997 3 years, 223 days
Justice Shigeharu Negishi January 11, 1994 December 3, 1998 4 years, 326 days
Justice Hideo Chikusa September 13, 1993 February 20, 2002 8 years, 160 days
Justice Masaru Oshiro April 13, 1993 February 13, 1995 1 year, 306 days
Justice Masao Ono April 1, 1993 September 2, 1997 4 years, 154 days
Chief Justice Toru Miyoshi March 25, 1992 October 30, 1997 5 years, 219 days
Justice Motoo Ono February 13, 1992 March 15, 2000 8 years, 31 days
Justice Katsuya Onishi May 13, 1991 September 9, 1998 7 years, 119 days
Justice Osamu Mimura December 10, 1990 February 6, 1994 3 years, 58 days
Justice Ryohei Kizaki September 3, 1990 July 24, 1994 3 years, 324 days
Justice Tsuneo Kabe May 10, 1990 March 8, 1997 6 years, 302 days
Justice Shoichiro Sato February 20, 1990 February 15, 1994 3 years, 360 days
Justice Toshijiro Nakajima January 24, 1990 September 1, 1995 5 years, 220 days
Justice Shirohei Hashimoto January 11, 1990 April 12, 1993 3 years, 91 days
Chief Justice Ryohachi Kusaba November 27, 1989 November 7, 1995 5 years, 345 days
Justice Itsuo Sonobe September 21, 1989 March 31, 1999 9 years, 191 days
Justice Seiichi Ohori June 17, 1988 August 10, 1995 7 years, 54 days
Justice Katsumi Teika March 17, 1988 September 12, 1993 5 years, 179 days
Justice Hisayuki Okuno September 5, 1987 August 26, 1990 2 years, 355 days
Justice Iwao Yotsuya January 28, 1987 February 8, 1992 5 years, 11 days
Justice Tonosuke Hayashi June 13, 1986 August 6, 1987 1 year, 54 days
Justice Tetsuro Sato May 21, 1986 January 4, 1990 3 years, 228 days
Justice Toshio Sakaue January 17, 1986 March 31, 1993 7 years, 73 days
Justice Yasukazu Kagawa January 17, 1986 May 4, 1991 5 years, 107 days
Justice Tsuneo Ouchi November 5, 1985 March 23, 1992 6 years, 139 days
Justice Akira Fujishima May 23, 1985 January 1, 1994 8 years, 223 days
Justice Masuo Takashima December 17, 1984 May 2, 1988 3 years, 137 days
Justice Atsushi Nagashima June 12, 1984 March 16, 1988 3 years, 278 days
Justice Rokuro Shimatani May 8, 1984 January 23, 1990 5 years, 260 days
Chief Justice Koichi Yaguchi February 20, 1984 February 19, 1990 5 years, 364 days
Justice Reijiro Tsunoda November 8, 1983 December 3, 1990 7 years, 25 days
Justice Mitsuhiko Yasuoka October 1, 1982 May 4, 1990 7 years, 215 days
Justice Seiichi Wada August 16, 1982 April 23, 1986 3 years, 250 days
Justice Keiji Maki May 28, 1982 November 24, 1989 7 years, 180 days
Justice Hisaharu Kidoguchi April 12, 1982 January 8, 1986 3 years, 271 days
Justice Susumu Ohashi November 2, 1981 June 12, 1986 4 years, 222 days
Justice Masataka Taniguchi April 16, 1980 January 27, 1987 6 years, 286 days
Chief Justice Jiro Terada March 22, 1980 November 3, 1985 5 years, 226 days Father of 18th Chief Justice Itsuro Terada.[12]
Justice Goichi Miyazaki February 6, 1980 May 4, 1984 4 years, 88 days
Justice Masami Ito January 19, 1980 September 20, 1989 9 years, 244 days
Justice Yasuyoshi Shiono April 2, 1979 May 22, 1985 6 years, 50 days
Justice Shigeyori Tsukamoto April 2, 1979 October 17, 1981 2 years, 198 days
Justice Tadayoshi Kinoshita March 1, 1979 January 14, 1986 6 years, 319 days
Justice Daizo Yokoi September 22, 1978 June 10, 1984 5 years, 262 days
Justice Jiro Nakamura September 22, 1978 February 19, 1984 5 years, 150 days
Justice Hiromu Toda July 14, 1978 March 25, 1980 1 year, 255 days
Justice Toru Motoyama August 26, 1977 August 10, 1982 4 years, 349 days
Justice Masato Fujisaki April 5, 1977 December 15, 1984 7 years, 254 days
Justice Kazuo Kurimoto May 25, 1976 May 26, 1982 6 years, 1 day
Justice Shoichi Tamaki March 27, 1976 April 11, 1982 6 years, 15 days
Chief Justice Takaaki Hattori December 3, 1975 September 30, 1982 6 years, 301 days
Justice Yuzuru Motobayashi August 8, 1975 March 30, 1979 3 years, 234 days
Justice Shigemitsu Dando October 4, 1974 November 7, 1983 9 years, 34 days
Justice Yutaka Yoshida May 21, 1973 February 28, 1979 5 years, 283 days
Justice Masami Takatsuji April 4, 1973 January 18, 1980 6 years, 289 days
Justice Kiichiro Otsuka February 2, 1973 February 4, 1980 7 years, 2 days
Justice Kiyoo Erikuchi January 9, 1973 March 19, 1980 7 years, 70 days
Justice Yasuo Kishigami November 28, 1972 September 21, 1978 5 years, 297 days
Justice Yoshikatsu Sakamoto December 7, 1971 March 26, 1976 4 years, 110 days
Justice Buichi Amano May 21, 1971 September 20, 1978 7 years, 122 days
Justice Seiichi Kishi April 2, 1971 July 13, 1978 7 years, 102 days
Justice Takeso Shimoda January 12, 1971 April 2, 1977 6 years, 80 days
Justice Nobuo Ogawa December 22, 1970 August 6, 1975 4 years, 227 days
Chief Justice Masao Okahara October 28, 1970 March 31, 1979 8 years, 154 days
Chief Justice Ekizo Fujibayashi July 31, 1970 August 25, 1977 7 years, 25 days
Justice Kosato Sekine January 17, 1969 December 2, 1975 6 years, 319 days
Chief Justice Tomokazu Murakami November 19, 1968 May 24, 1976 7 years, 187 days
Justice Yoshimi Iimura September 20, 1967 April 26, 1971 3 years, 218 days
Justice Masao Matsumoto January 17, 1967 December 5, 1971 4 years, 322 days
Justice Kenichiro Osumi September 9, 1966 October 1, 1974 8 years, 22 days
Justice Kotaro Irokawa May 10, 1966 January 29, 1973 6 years, 264 days
Justice Kazuo Shimomura September 14, 1965 January 1, 1973 7 years, 109 days
Justice Makoto Iwata August 31, 1964 November 25, 1972 8 years, 86 days
Justice Jiro Matsuda January 31, 1964 July 29, 1970 6 years, 179 days
Justice Jiro Tanaka January 16, 1964 March 31, 1973 9 years, 74 days
Justice Goroku Kashihara December 13, 1963 September 19, 1967 3 years, 280 days
Justice Yoshihiko Kido June 6, 1963 December 19, 1970 7 years, 196 days
Chief Justice Kazuto Ishida June 6, 1963 May 19, 1973 9 years, 347 days
Justice Kingo Osabe April 5, 1963 March 31, 1971 7 years, 360 days
Justice Asanosuke Kusaka August 12, 1962 October 24, 1970 8 years, 73 days
Justice Kitaro Saito May 29, 1962 August 9, 1964 2 years, 72 days
Chief Justice Masatoshi Yokota February 28, 1962 January 10, 1969 6 years, 317 days
Justice Kakiwa Gokijo August 26, 1961 December 31, 1966 5 years, 127 days
Justice Sakunosuke Yamada December 27, 1960 April 21, 1966 5 years, 115 days
Chief Justice Kisaburo Yokota October 25, 1960 August 5, 1966 5 years, 284 days
Justice Shuichi Ishisaka June 28, 1958 September 13, 1965 7 years, 77 days
Justice Tsuneshichi Takagi June 28, 1958 March 14, 1963 4 years, 259 days
Justice Kiyoshi Takahashi January 30, 1957 December 29, 1961 4 years, 333 days
Justice Kenichi Okuno November 22, 1956 November 17, 1968 11 years, 361 days
Justice Masuo Shimoiizaka November 22, 1956 January 28, 1964 7 years, 67 days
Justice Daisuke Kawamura November 22, 1956 June 1, 1963 6 years, 191 days
Justice Katsumi Tarumi May 26, 1955 November 14, 1963 8 years, 172 days
Justice Katsu Ikeda November 2, 1954 May 22, 1963 8 years, 201 days
Justice Toshio Irie August 30, 1952 January 9, 1971 18 years, 132 days
Justice Zentaro Motomura January 21, 1952 January 14, 1957 4 years, 359 days
Justice Shunzo Kobayashi October 5, 1951 June 2, 1958 6 years, 240 days
Justice Tadaichiro Tanimura April 12, 1951 November 10, 1956 5 years, 212 days
Chief Justice Kotaro Tanaka March 3, 1950 October 24, 1960 10 years, 235 days
Justice Shigeto Hozumi February 26, 1949 July 29, 1951 2 years, 153 days
Justice Matasuke Kawamura August 4, 1947 December 31, 1963 16 years, 149 days
Justice Saburo Iwamatsu August 4, 1947 November 10, 1956 9 years, 98 days
Justice Hachiro Fujita August 4, 1947 August 4, 1962 15 years, 0 days
Justice Yusuke Saito August 4, 1947 May 20, 1962 14 years, 289 days
Justice Tamotsu Shima August 4, 1947 August 24, 1961 14 years, 20 days
Justice Katsushige Kotani August 4, 1947 December 23, 1960 13 years, 141 days
Justice Riichi Shono August 4, 1947 June 28, 1948 329 days
Justice Tsuyoshi Mano August 4, 1947 June 8, 1958 10 years, 308 days
Justice Shigeru Kuriyama August 4, 1947 October 5, 1956 9 years, 62 days
Justice Nobori Inoue August 4, 1947 April 9, 1955 7 years, 248 days
Justice Seiichi Shimoyama August 4, 1947 October 14, 1954 7 years, 71 days
Justice Takejiro Sawada August 4, 1947 August 1, 1952 4 years, 363 days
Justice Taichiro Hasegawa August 4, 1947 November 30, 1951 4 years, 118 days
Justice Naoyoshi Tsukasaki August 4, 1947 February 14, 1951 3 years, 194 days
Chief Justice Tadahiko Mibuchi August 4, 1947 March 2, 1950 2 years, 210 days Kyoto

References

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