Ordinary Japanese citizens started participating as judges in a criminal trial for the first time in Japan’s postwar history Monday under a newly launched legal system aiming to make court proceedings more understandable to the public and reflect common sentiment.

While many other countries have a system that enables the public to participate in criminal trials, the first lay judge trial in Japan, marking the actual start of a major legal reform, highlighted people’s reluctance to serve as citizen judges as many candidates summoned by the Tokyo District Court earlier in the day expressed relief at not being appointed.