The Judge

2003-11-07

I stumbled on this friday night TV program called "The Judge", channel 8, 8pm, where they show some re−enactments of a real issues and then ask the celebrity audience to decide who the law would side with. Then they ask the real lawyer than handled the case to tell them what the law says. It's pretty interesting and some of them were fairly non−intuitive to me.

( * ) The first case there was a relatively newly married couple. The wife discovers in the husbands bank records that the husband is paying $500 a month to somebody with a female name. Assuming he's cheating on her she follows him one day and finds out he has a kid from the previous marriage who he's paying child support for. She demands a divorce. The question was, can she get it. I don't know what the laws are in Japan because I thought in the states if you want a divorce you get one but I guess that's different in Japan.

The lawyer said accordng to the law she can get a divorce. As far as the law is concerned it's okay he didn't tell her he used to be married but it is not okay to not tell her about the kid before they got married, especially as he is paying child support since that effects her life as well.

I was pretty surprised. Especially on the money angle. Does that mean she could divorce him if he turned out to have a $100k debt before he married her that he didn't tell her about? That's about what paying $500 a month for 15 years is.

( * ) The next one a young jobless guy, 23, is looking for a part time job. He sees an ad for a job and calls to make an appointment for an interview. After he makes the appointment he's walking down the street and a woman crashes into him on her bike and his leg is broken. As he can't work until his leg is better he demands she pay him 3 months salary. The question is, does she have to pay?

The laywer said "yes!", according to the law, the fact that he showed intent to work (applied for the job) is young and able to work (he's 23), and is therefore likely to be hired that yes, she has to pay even though he doesn't actually have the job yet although she only has to pay 50% of the salary he would have received. I'm not sure if I agree with that or not since their's no proof he would have actually gotten the job.

( * ) The next one 3 guys are golfing. A boss, his underling and a prospective client. The boss tells the underling to go easy and let the prospective client win since it will put him in a good mood and they will probably get a $10K contract. The underling agrees to throw the game. While they are playing the prospective client is an jerk and is rubbing it in how much the boss and his underling suck at golf. Finally the underling can't take it anymore, starts playing for real and wins the game. The prospective client gets pissed off and leaves, no deal. The boss gets angry at the underling and demands that he pay $10k for losing the deal. The question is "can the boss make the underling pay".

According the Japanese law the answer is "YES!!". According to the lawyer they had a verbal agreement to throw the game to try to get the $10K contract. When the underling didn't throw the game he broke the contract.

Again, I can't see how that would fly as they don't know if they would have gotten the $10k. I can see it as been a valid reason to fire the underling but making him pay for the lost contract seems out to me but that's not how it is in Japan.

( * ) The next one a guy is in an onsen (hot spring). 3 older women come over to him and start teasing him, flirting etc..., but he is not interested. They pursist and at one point one of them touches his bare chest. The question is, "did she just break the law?"

According to the lawyer the answer is "YES!". Touching someone without permission is against the law. The most common example is some guy grabbing a girls butt on the train or copping a feel but it works the other way as well.

( * ) The last one a kid is playing his Nintendo, he's well into the game, his mom is calling him to dinner and he's not coming. Finally she presses the power button on him killing the game and all the effort he put into it so far. The question is "did she break the law"

I'm not sure I understood this answer completely but I think, according to the program, it's yes and no. Because he is a juvenile and she's his mom she did not break the law but if he was an adult she would be breaking the law. Shutting off the video game in that case would be the same as shutting off someone's computer which may have had very important unsaved data and which would be a crime with a fine of up to $10K

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