move to the right menu  move to the main contents


Home > Supreme Court of Japan > About the Supreme Court > Justices of the supreme court > OTANI Naoto

Justices of the Supreme Court

 OTANI Naoto

OTANI, Naoto
Date of Birth: June 23, 1952



Graduated from the University of Tokyo, Faculty of Law in 1975


Appointed as a legal apprentice in 1975

Professional Career:

Assistant Judge, Tokyo District Court
Staff Attorney, Criminal Affairs Bureau, General Secretariat, Supreme Court
Professor, Research and Training Institute for Court Clerks
Assistant Judge, Toyama District/Family Court
Judicial Research Official, Supreme Court
Judge, Tokyo District Court
Professor, Legal Training and Research Institute
Director, First and Third Divisions, Criminal Affairs Bureau, General Secretariat, Supreme Court
Judge, Tokyo High Court
Presiding Judge, Tokyo District Court
Director, Secretary Division and Public Information Division, General Secretariat, Supreme Court
Director-General, Criminal Affairs Bureau, General Secretariat and Director of the Supreme Court Library, Supreme Court
Director-General, Personnel Affairs Bureau, General Secretariat, Supreme Court
Chief Judge, Shizuoka District Court
Secretary-General of Supreme Court
President, Osaka High Court
February 17, 2015 Justice of the Supreme Court

Motto, hobbies

Things to Keep in Mind as a Justice
The number of observers, especially students, attending court proceedings has increased dramatically since I took the bench in 1977 as an assistant judge. I feel that the distance between citizens and courts has diminished during this period, partly due to the recent introduction of the saiban-in (lay judge) system. At the same time, I believe citizens are paying much more close attention to courts to see if our performance meets their expectations. I will strive to hear every case with the utmost sincerity, keeping my presence of mind, and will always keep my grave responsibilities as a Justice of the Supreme Court in mind.

Favorite Word or Term
Es irrt der Mensch, solang er strebt (“Man errs as long as he strives”).
Goethe, Faust

Books that Left an Impression on Me
Moving to Osaka to assume my previous position was the first time I had ever lived there in my life. To get a feel for the atmosphere of the place, I read many books set in Osaka. I was particularly impressed by the work of Osaka’s many female novelists, including Makate Asai, Kanako Nishi, Tomoka Shibasaki and Kikuko Tsumura, whose passion for their city was apparent.

Reading a novel while listening to music that fits my mood has always been my favorite way of relaxing. If I had to choose a favorite book that I have re-read many times over the years, I would mention Bleak House by Charles Dickens. It not only offers a compelling story, but asks impressively insightful questions about the nature of justice and the responsibilities of jurists.