crime

Americans in Japanese prison for helping Ghosn escape seek to go home

73 Comments
By Yuri Kageyama

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Japanese authorities say their prisons meet humanitarian standards

Which humanitarian standard they use?

The Taylors' family members have not been able to visit or telephone them.

That's another humanitarian standard that Japan's use.

21 ( +38 / -17 )

Japanese prisons lack Western-style heating, air-conditioning or beds. 

Nearly all Japanese homes lack the first two and many don't have the third.

Living in Japan has made me tough. I'm always surprised by how cozy and comfortable people's homes in Canada are when I go to visit.

21 ( +35 / -14 )

Paul Kelly, said Thursday that the elder man was suffering from serious back pain and frostbite.

Frostbite is not something you get in a humanitarian system.

Japanese prisons lack Western-style heating, air-conditioning or beds. Inmates get a mattress that's rolled out at night. Japanese authorities say their prisons meet humanitarian standards.

Might want to rethink those standards?

after spending nine months in detention. They were kept in solitary confinement in Japan while awaiting their verdict. That is fairly standard in Japan for suspects not given bail. But they were not given credit for the time spent before they were sentenced.

That is not fair. Being detained is being detained it should count.

25 ( +38 / -13 )

Japanese prisons lack Western-style heating, air-conditioning or beds. 

Nearly all Japanese homes lack the first two and many don't have the third.

Most if not all Japanese homes use a Kotatsu for heating. I’ve stayed in few homes in Japan whilst visiting family, they all have AC (Daikin and Mitsubishi Electric are world leaders) and they all have western beds. Futons are more for guests.

-5 ( +15 / -20 )

The torture is part of the correctional facility in Japan. No mercy given to people who stray out of the social norms. They strike the hammer on the sticking out nails very hard.

Maybe they could escape in a musical equipment box. Wait...

-4 ( +17 / -21 )

The recent Greg Kelly verdict clearly demonstrated that the prosecutors didn't have much of a case against Ghosn. They restricted Kelly's freedoms for 3 1/2 years -- all for a six-month suspended sentence.

10 ( +18 / -8 )

Weren’t they use to be in the army? That little of discomfort already send them crying for home?? Just get use to it.

Then what about the countless of japanese criminals that has been living in these prisons? You don’t any of them complaining. In fact many intentionally commit crimes just to get into prison these days for free meal and a place to stay during winter time.

-18 ( +10 / -28 )

In their trial, they said they had been misled and wanted to save Ghosn from an unfair system, believing Ghosn could not expect a fair trial. Japan's justice system has been long criticized by human rights advocates.

There are many in the highest reaches of government and Japan Inc. who are much more deserving of the penal systems' omotenashi.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

I’d rather be in a Japanese prison than an American one any day! At least you don’t have to share a toilet with 10 other inmates!

11 ( +24 / -13 )

Suffering frostbite! Further evidence that Japan abuses and tortures prisoners.

-3 ( +17 / -20 )

This is Japan after all,a country very good at self promoting it’s “cool” things but also very good at hiding to the world it’s primitive justice system,it’s still feudal society and rules and it’s legendary sexism. Japan and human rights are two words that can’t be associated,and for sure their prison standards requires the one of a boot camp.

1 ( +18 / -17 )

Seems these 2 Americans would prefer anyplace other than where the are presently.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

Cruel and unusual punishment continues here. - Was wanting to read additional anecdotes from users with actual experiences in J prisons, not necessarily the one-upmanship about individual R values and other meandering drivel to which we’re being subjected.

0 ( +15 / -15 )

Then again, you’re right @JeffLee 6:54am, Canadian conditions are more comfortable and cozy than most.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

The torture is part of the correctional facility in Japan.

I agree.

There are many in the highest reaches of government and Japan Inc. who are much more deserving of the penal systems' omotenashi.

So true!

Suffering frostbite! Further evidence that Japan abuses and tortures prisoners.

Yup!

Cruel and unusual punishment continues here. - Was wanting to read additional anecdotes from users with actual experiences in J prisons, not necessarily the one-upmanship about individual R values and other meandering drivel to which we’re being subjected.

well said!

-2 ( +16 / -18 )

I’d rather be in a Japanese prison than an American one any day! 

I think we should listen to the views of those have been in both. One journalist claims that Japan's prison system is the world's harshest, which places a mentally tortuous burden on inmates after they've been inside for a while.

Most American prisons are overcrowded from the 2.3million population. 

They still have exercise yards, sitting areas and libraries .

5 ( +11 / -6 )

I t is one thing to be convicted and imprisoned and it is another to tortured while in prison. If Japans prisons are truly what is being stated in this article then transferring them become an OBLOGATION.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

Neglect of prisoners proves what a primitive species Japanese are.

Species? What century are you from?

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Seriously I thought theses were hard men from the U.S military. Should have researched the conditions of Japanese prisons before committing the crime. I prefer the old fashioned bread and water for criminals. It's not a bloody holiday.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

For many Japanese that is a normal lifestyle. When I first moved to Oita my apartment had no heat or ac. I sweated my butt off and in the winter used a cheap kerosene heater. I bought a cheap, thin futon to sleep on tatami with one blanket. My lady friends didn’t seem to mind.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

Unfortunately, many Japanese believe that American prisons are much more dangerous than those in Japan. While this may not be true, many believe that rape, violence, covid-19 and drugs are prevalent.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Peter Taylor was a green beret and mercenary. He also knew the risks.

I sometimes stay in cheap Japanese guesthouses. Small room, tatami, and futon. Kerosene heater in winter, open window in summer. No food. I pay around ¥4-5000 a night. At least they get feed.

in their defense, I have experienced Japanese police bordering on bullying and torture.

my point is, in an overcrowded American prison that if you don’t join a gang, even as an ex-soldier, you will be mincemeat. There are many YouTube videos like “Americas toughest prisons.”

8 ( +9 / -1 )

They shouldn't have committed crimes in Japan then !

-2 ( +12 / -14 )

JeffLeeToday  06:54 am JST

Japanese prisons lack Western-style heating, air-conditioning or beds. 

Nearly all Japanese homes lack the first two and many don't have the third.

Err, I have yet to visit a Japanese home which does not have one of the below:

.heating floor (granted this is an apartment-thing)

.airconditioning (heck, even most traditional houses have one these days)

.oil or electric heater (worse-case scenario)

.a kotatsu (absolute worse-case scenario)

.or some kind of futon/bed-cover (absolutely utter worse-case scenario) to go with the mattress

The well-being of prisoners falls under the responsibility of the state. So...

Japanese prisons lack Western-style heating, air-conditioning or beds. Inmates get a mattress that's rolled out at night. Japanese authorities say their prisons meet humanitarian standards.

The Boston-based attorney for Michael Taylor and his son Peter Taylor, Paul Kelly, said Thursday that the elder man was suffering from serious back pain and frostbite.

...not sure about the back pain-part, but frostbites? No, seriously???

Essentially, in Japan prisoners freeze in dry winter and are cooking in muggy summer, right? As the prisoners are graying as well, I start to wonder how many already kicked the bucket due to their lacking environmental conditions?

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Amazing, so many posters here know every detail of a Japanese prison.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

At least their voices are being heard, better than being in a Japanese detention center

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@blue

The writer says "western style," taken to mean centrally controlled (through a thermostat), where warmth or coolness are uniformly distributed. A kotatsu?! Um, not quite the same. LOL.

I've been in modern Japanese offices that still struggle with the concept: freezing in summer and boiling in winter. A British guy would pull out his summer shorts and t-shirt in January, while an American woman used to wear a thick wool scarf around her neck in summer to prevent a hoarse sore throat. The Japanese staffers would practice "gaman," having grown up with such unhealthy discomfort.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

As much as I have praised and defended Japan, their justice and criminal system is lacking and seems quite corrupt.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Hang in there dudes, spring is almost here. When you get back to the states you can option for the movie and book rights. And like others here, bad mouth Nippon for the rest of your life.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The western prison system is about rehabilitation while in Japan it's about punishment.

Western prison? In some European countries, sure. Definitely not in the U.S.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Here’s someone’s frequently referred to blog entry from:

https://gaijinass.com/2017/03/30/brutal-realities-of-prison-in-japan/

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@JeffLee

@blue

The writer says "western style," taken to mean centrally controlled (through a thermostat), where warmth or coolness are uniformly distributed. A kotatsu?! Um, not quite the same. LOL.

Japanese prisons lack Western-style heating, air-conditioning or beds. 

Nearly all Japanese homes lack the first two and many don't have the third.

Err, I have yet to visit a Japanese home which does not have one of the below:

The author does talk about (central) heating, air-conditioning (or absence thereof) in Japanese penitentiary facilities, to which you talk about homes. I talk about homes, to which you then talk about offices. Can you kindly focus your comment on something? Anything?

My point is: Japan may not make much use of western heating systems but obviously has alternatives which it is not rolling out to penitentiary facilities whose inmates fall under their responsibilities. Heck, even inmates in death row have a right (and the government has an obligation) to be kept healthy for...the gallows. (and no, I'm not even being cynical here...)

Concerning homes, home-owners and occupants have a "choice" (although they may their choice in home installations and rentals may ultimately be limited, most notably by their financial situation, hence the top-down ranking of solutions). There are probably homes with pretty much nothing, but these are (unluckily for them and luckily for everybody else)...exceptions.

One could argue that even some of the working poors, day-workers and generally "homeless workers" are sleeping in manga and internet-cafes, which are, of course, heated. Then, of course, there are the completely homeless, but that is a completely different topic altogether (e.g. having or not access to air-conditioning is most likely not their main concern...).

And yes, I have seen (luckily not worked in) offices with no air-conditioning or obviously lackluster isolation (e.g. just have a look at the windows and you know where things generally stand), or been to shiyakusho or kuyakusho offices which were freezing in winter or were you get greeted by a gush of air coming from the inside that is actually warmer than the air outside...There are also occasional news reports of schools without air-conditioning or heating...

This, tells you a lot on how much management or government entities value their staff/pupils/customers/citizens...or, to be fair, on how cash-strapped some of them may possibly be (e.g. pretty much financially bankrupt inaka communities and facilities)...

Going back to penitentiary facilities, the state is in charge. There are solutions available. The state has money, it just does not care.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

The Taylors were extradited from the U.S. in February 2021,

Well, that's the problem if you're a citizen of a common-law country. Japan (and I guess most countries with legal systems based on Roman law) does not extradite their citizens.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Countries like Norway at the top,but also Germany Denmark and Sweden showed that their prison correctional system not only benefits for rehabilitation of the convicts but also proves high human rights standard qualities. These are the ones I admire,Japan still has the medieval conception of prison=punishment which instead should be,prison+reheducation= rehabilitation.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Contrary to what some erroneously claim is ‘not likely’, at least two well-known commenters here have been incarcerated in Japan, AND have written books on their stories. - Best to let them speak for themselves?-

Many others here have also experienced some unwarranted ‘profiling’ by police and fear the possibility of being unfairly detained.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Countries like Norway at the top,but also Germany Denmark and Sweden showed that their prison correctional system not only benefits for rehabilitation of the convicts but also proves high human rights standard qualities. These are the ones I admire,Japan still has the medieval conception of prison=punishment which instead should be,prison+reheducation= rehabilitation.

Maybe that's a reason why those countries attract so many criminals from across the globe and that those countries have one of the highest tax rates in the world.

I don't want to aliment criminals with my tax money - Prison should be a form of punishment.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Japanese authorities say their prisons meet humanitarian standards

Much like it's legal standards. Years and years without trial all for a 6 month suspendend sentence. The time never matched the crime

Sept 9, 2019Nissan Motor CEO Hiroto Saikawa is stepping down after an internal investigation revealed falsified documents that boosted his compensation in 2013 by about $900,000

Saikawa bowed and quit, never spent a day in jail highlighting that non-Japanese mean nothing in Japan and they can throw anyone in in jail whenever they feel like it. That's their standard. No reason to work in Japan now that the curtain is pulled away.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I would love to see them both get released, especially the Dad.

They have done more than enough time to repay society.

No Japanese citizens were harmed by their crime. They have shown sufficient remorse and should be released for time served.

The Japanese criminal justice system would gain a lot of good will and show the world they are not as bad as we all know they are.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

When they took on this very well paying job smuggling a bail jumper out of Japan they knew damn well that the only laws they's be breaking are Japanese laws. And assumig they had half a brain they would have done research to see what exactly would happen to them, what conditions they'd be living in, if everything hit the fan. The biased western media always writes about Japanese prison like it's some torture chamber, but all the Japanese convicts live under the exact same rules and conditions. You know what they say, if you can't do the time don't do the crime. Besides. they'll eventually be out in no time anyway. Hey State Dept don't waste my tax dollars on making life cushy for cons.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Lawyer also doing this for humanitarian reasons, good to know he's not giving up

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Taylors should have inquired about accomodations first before booking the flight

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

hmmm.......cold, uncomfortable, sitting cross legged all day in silence or man-fun in the showers.........that's a tough call to make

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

zichiToday  11:36 am JST

The western prison system is about rehabilitation while in Japan it's about punishment.

That's very over simpified and wrong. If you consider strict orderly daily life where you lose all the freedoms you had living outside the prison as "Punishment", then yes it's punishment. But prisoners are taught work skills, and a social worker is assigned to a released prisoner to help them get back into society.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Seriously I thought theses were hard men from the U.S military. Should have researched the conditions of Japanese prisons before committing the crime.

Actually with all of the smarts and wit it took for them to help Ghosn escape Japan, it didn't cross their mind to take the millions they were paid and move to a country outside the extradition treaty?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Frostbite? It’s that cold frostbite? What the hell 2 years prison and frostbite, with a couple of months heatstroke.

And you have to sleep on the floor, because we never thought about a bed raised like primitive tribes have. Work your way through our criminal justice system to find well it’s a little bit barbaric.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Please don't forget Japan is maybe the only county that has had to surrender fully to a foreign nation due to carpiculation

They are lucky they did not end up like North Korea

If a us citizen wants to be transferred home for humanitarian reasons do it. Don't forget your debt to us western nations Japan:)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Perhaps Japan should have a welcome sign at each airport and port, "Please do not break the law our prisons do not have heating systems" this would deter some of the most fool hardy criminals.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

The sentence was very bogus.

They had to reinterpret the law in unbelibable ways to make the it fit as a crime.

Now human rights are being breached again.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Some people here are really fan of the prison=harsh punishment. Well in countries where such system is applied the convicts almost always keep doing crimes after the release unlike in countries like Denmark,Norway and Germany where the imprisoned is followed by a group of psychologists and are brought back as much as possible into the society and furthermore most of them won’t offend again. The iron fists can only bring fear but a conscious and fair society can bring true justice and illumination even to the lost ones.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Going off on some serious tangents here. Does anyone here actually believe these millionaire criminals need rehabilitation. Stay on course people.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

MOJ had nothing on Kelly, they just used Kelly to keep Ghosn on his tippy-toes. As for Michael and Peter, it will be nice to see them back in USA - after-all, they rightfully admitted their crime without coping out a plea.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"They were kept in solitary confinement in Japan while awaiting their verdict. That is fairly standard in Japan for suspects not given bail. But they were not given credit for the time spent before they were sentenced."

What could be the possible reasoning on this point?

According to this article, they were extradited from the U.S. in February 2021, after spending nine months in detention so they have been imprisoned for 22 months in total already.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@zichi, well said. Anyone who makes erroneous claims here and refuses to back them up with simple, irrefutable evidence is simply spouting 'fake news' of a different sort.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

How soon some forget? - Someone embarrassed themselves with similar questioning just last month, not believing the author and the user in the same comments section was ‘one and the same’.

As stated earlier, best to leave it to them if they want to come forward again and join the forum. They’ve weighed in on similar topics in the past. In the meantime, perhaps enjoy

3 ( +6 / -3 )

"Please don't forget Japan is maybe the only county that has had to surrender fully to a foreign nation due to carpiculation".

Well, your "premise" is all wrong.

Anyway, I am gonna cite two more Nations that have "carpiculated":

Germany & France.

Oh, Finland "carpiculated" to the Soviets in 1940.

All "carpiculated" big time.

And I agree with Ossan's post wholeheartedly.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Don't think they will get the royal treatment soon in the Japanese prisons, and they were extradited from the us. Doesn't sound like the treatment is specific to them so... Doubt much is going to change.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan should keep them.

The US doesn't want them.

Weren't they "special forces" ... or claimed they were?

Prison (anywhere) isn't supposed to be comfortable.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Typical. More attempts at misrepresentation of previous events & circumstances. It all shows more of someone’s erroneous insinuations are later proven wrong:

- “In their trial, they said they had been misled and wanted to save Ghosn from an unfair system, believing Ghosn could not expect a fair trial. Japan's justice system has been long criticized by human rights advocates.”

Also obvious is they’ve tended to lose a lot of sleep. Deplorable.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

They did the crime and now are facing the consequences.

Get no sympathy from me.

Foreigners should respect Japanese laws or not come here.

Japan isn't a so called free country like the USA.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes... Are we supposed to feel sorry persons aren't comfortable? As long as the get fed three times a day enough not to die, is all fine and humane in my eyes.. Enjoy!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No Japanese has ever been indicted for escaping detention.

Escape from detention was illegalized after the Ghosn escape, not before.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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