crime

Couple freed after 20 years as court orders new trial in arson-murder case

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Confessions are common in Japanese criminal cases and typically seal the fate of almost all those charged with crimes.

Which leads to the image that the Japanese cops are infallible, which any person with half a wit knows to be BS.

I wonder how many others are sitting in prison with their "confessions" being the evidence that put them there. Cases like these scream out for reform, but Abe is too stuck on himself and what he wants to listen.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

This seems to happen a lot in Japan. There was one last week too.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

So sad ! Torture to obtain confession leads to lie. The nail must be hammered. If not, its surging head shall be cut.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Confessions are common in Japanese criminal cases and typically seal the fate of almost all those charged with crimes

The weak are bullied into confession while the great and the good get suspended sentences.

Kudos to the courts. More cojones, please.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

"Confessions are common in Japanese criminal cases"

Yes, because THEY DID IT!!!!!

-20 ( +2 / -22 )

The travails of Japanese justice.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yes, because THEY DID IT!!!!!

Then why were they set free??

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@Aly Rustom - "Then why were they set free??"

They were released pending the re-trial... :-)

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

And this is why Japan should have no death penalty. Police and prosecutor corruption and incompetence are revealed far too much.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Prosecutors had also failed in their attempts to re-create the fire with key details from his original confession, reports said.

Looks like another miscarriage of justice. 20 years is long enough. Call it time served and another slap against prosecution in Japan

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What's the deal with the fluids pump the stepdad bought the same day and threw under the vehicle?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A good example of why not to support Capitol punishment. A huge chunk of their lives were waisted but at least they have the possibility of getting some of their life back.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Forced confession.

Prosecutors had also failed in their attempts to re-create the fire with key details from his original confession, reports said.

When cops concoct crime scenes, cops imagination do not work. They don't have movie scene designers' brain.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Ohh wow this heavy.....so the criminal justice of Japan is forcing people who has sentence make false confection statements because they were torture in the interrogation procedure? Wow this isn't good at all! They need a seriously re-form justice system soon.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

So wrong Japan... I hate to read these stories.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

And this is why Japan should have no death penalty. Police and prosecutor corruption and incompetence are revealed far too much.

wrongful convictions, crooked cops, and forced confessions happen in many other countries too.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I don't know the details of the case but how did they escape the fire and the daughter did not? I would rather die burning trying to save my child's life. I read in a previous report that they attempted to,collect insurance money from the child's death. Did they have specific death insurance on the child? I love my kids and the thought of life insurance on them doesn't make any sense for me at all.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The J-"justice" system has some unbelievable REAL problems with it & virtually nothing being done to fix it!

I am GLAD these two survived!

NOW, the prosecutors in their case need to put into custody, investigated, sounds like they are guilty as HELL! If found guilty, lose their jobs, go to JAIL

Then ALL their cases need to re-investigated! I am sick of hearing about forced confessions in this country! Am I living in China or NKorea!

Japan your justice system is severely BROKEN, FIX IT!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The way the confession is taken is also funny! They commonly insist that the accused should do hansei! This is then used indirectly to say the accused has accepted responsibility and kind of confessed! They start from there! In the next interogation, they start from accused having accepted and now should only tell then the story otherwise he will be accused of lying, and more trouble will come ...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

About insurance - if you have run of the mill home-owners insurance, which most homeowners do, it would cover a fire. There is nothing suspicious about that.

About the system - the over-reliance on browbeaten confessions is highly disturbing and probably explains why so many people are wrongfully convicted. The story here serves as a damning condemnation of the incompetence and callousness of the police and prosecutors involved in the case. This couple, after losing their daughter who they naturally seem to have loved quite dearly, were immediately condemned for her murder based on what appears to be nothing more than conjecture (ie no evidence whatsoever save for a forced confession which should have been treated as useless from the start) and arrogance. Now they have lost 20 years of their lives, entering prison in their late 20s/early 30s and emerging in their late 40s/early 50s.

The system really should hold police and prosecutors criminally responsible for miscarriages of justice attributable to their own incompetence like this, but sadly they all have undoubtedly escaped unscathed with their careers and pensions intact. Disgusting.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

gogogoOCT. 27, 2015 - 09:04AM JST So wrong Japan... I hate to read these stories.

Me to, but it could have ended up even worse if the pro Capitol punishment people had their way!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I can understand the cops' motivation to force a confession for murder or theft, but this was a fire. It could've been put down as an accident without much pressure on the cops to "solve" the case. It makes you wonder why they were so eager to put this couple away. Maybe they were working with the insurance companies?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So sad ! Torture to obtain confession leads to lie

Where did you get the torture from?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Where did you get the torture from?

Maybe it wasn't what's internationally recognized as torture, but you don't get false confessions from katsudons.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sad. But at least finally the system worked in the end.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Another fine example of the Japanese In-Justice system.

20 years of their life gone by and and regulars here will know that any compensation will be minimum, and nothing like what they deserve.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Confessions should not be admitted as evidence in court, unless:

The confession is freely repeated and confirmed in court, and the judge is satisfied that it is genuine, or

Every second of interrogation was filmed and/or recorded.

That would eliminate this problem entirely. Confessions are, in a Japanese context, too often not any kind of evidence.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Dukeleto It's not uncommon to have a small life insurance policy on children. It's to cover funeral expenses in case of death. These policies are usually quite small, around 1-2 million yen. Enough for a modest funeral and burial. Nobody's killing their kids to get rich off the life insurance.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

as great is it that these people are out, it always amazes me how someone could confess to a crime that they didnt commit, especially if its somebody you killed. The police could beat me almost to death and id never confess to killing my child if i didnt do it!. Yes I can understand people can crack under pressure especially if your guilty! But for someone to force me to confess you killed your daughter! Id F die before Id do that!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

These policies are usually quite small, around 1-2 million yen.

Had to dig the numbers up, but:

http://www.47news.jp/47topics/e/270351.php

... 死亡保険金1500万円をだまし取る目的で放火 ... (google translate: arson in order to defraud the 15 million yen death benefit) ...

死亡保険金1500万円 = Death benefit 15 million yen = 15 million yen (1995) = (at July 1995 exchange rate of 87.24) = $171,939 (dollars 1995) = $325,000 (2014 income value of 1995 dollar amount $171,339).

So, $325,000 insurance policy in 2014 dollars. Not $10,000 - $20,000.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_yen#Historical_exchange_rate

http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/relativevalue.php

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Nice stats TurboStat!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@shonanbb - "Nice stats"

@Dukeleto - "how did they escape the fire and the daughter did not?... I love my kids and the thought of life insurance on them doesn't make any sense"

The facts don't add up... because...THEY DID IT!!!!!.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

TheGodfather

read the article again. Prosecutors couldn't recreate the events from the confession

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Toland’s lawyer Akira Ueno, who was present at the same press conference, said his client received in writing from the grandmother’s side that the daughter “does not want to see” her father.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Japanese Grandma wrote. Not his daughter,

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

@shonanbbOCT. 27, 2015 - 03:47PM JST Will this girl benefit by going to a place where she does not speak the language or know the customs? I do not think so

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Many people go to USA, without speaking American English or knowing American custom such as equal right.and new custom such as sushi and Top Ramen.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As for how the couple escaped while thd daughter died, the version put forward by their supporters (and solidified by a reenactment), is that gas leaked from the tank if their car parked in the tiny garage, flowed over to the nearby bath heater which ignited it. The daughter was taking a bath on the other side of the thin wall and the bathroom went up in flames before she could escape. The parents were in another part of the house and were able to escape. One of the points was that if the stepfather lit the fire in that small space as the charges stated, he would almost certainly have suffered somewhat serious burns, which he didn't have.

As for the insurance, the supporters say they had, at the urging of a salesperson, taken out life policies for all members of the family, as is common in many families here. I'm not sure about their particular policies but often, in addition to helping pay for funeral expenses, they will pay a small amount per day in the case of hospitalization.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Educator60 - "gas leaked from the tank of their car parked in the tiny garage, flowed over to the nearby bath heater which ignited it. The daughter was taking a bath on the other side of the thin wall and the bathroom went up in flames before she could escape. The parents were in another part of the house and were able to escape"

What an unfortunate set of circumstances... for the innocent girl! :-(

You forgot to say that the STEP-FATHER had been to the petrol/gas station TEN MINUTES BEFORE to fill up with gas/petrol... and the policy for the girl was THREE TIMES LARGER than is normal...

The reason that they were in prison for TWENTY YEARS was because... THEY DID IT!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@TheGodfather

Maybe you missed thus part "the version put forward by their supporters "?

And I didn't "forget" to mention a trip to fill up the gas tank of the vehicle because it's not something I know about. Even so, is it so unheard of to go fill up the tank of a car? How do you know it wasn't just an unfortunate coincidence? How do you know they killed the daughter? Were you a witness in the garage that night? Will we hear of you testifying at any upcoming retrials?

I also don't know the details of their insurance policies. I do know a number of people who havd had rather ridiculously large policies because they were incapable of saying "no" to a pushy insurance salesperson or were convinced by the sales talk that if was necessary.

I wasn't a witness and I don't know what exactly happened that night. But I do think there is a reasonable doubt that it didn't go down in the way the police said it did.

What I did forget to mention is related to reasons why someone might make a false confession. The mother was quoted on one news program as saying that at some point, distraught over the sudden death of her daughter, she broke down and gave into the pressure from the police, and that at that point she just wanted to join her daughter in death.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If there's any justice then every policemen who forced out a false confession and every prosecutor who fabricated evidence and who hid evidence that would prove someone's innocence will be thrown in jail for a decade or two.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If Japan create a board to revise law, it will be stopped to be laughstock. Last law Japan finally abolished Dance law created in 1945. Abolished two years ago. Other two 1945 laws are ignored but cops can use these two laws to harass people, especially gaijins,

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Thanks to the cops' lazy work, a murderer and rapist has been released. Yes, the guy admitted in letters to his supporters group that he had a sexual relationship with the girl, which would obviously mean rape given her age. He was never charged for that since he was already arrested for murder. The guy was a low-life who had no money and signed up for the unusually high insurance right before the girl's death. I have no doubt he caused her death. As for the mother, I'm not sure if she was in on it or not. It's reasonable to assume that Boku wanted to convince her it wasn't his fault so set it up to go off when they were together in a separate room. Perhaps the cops assuming they were in on it together was their biggest mistake.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@therougou - "Thanks to the cops' lazy work, a murderer and rapist has been released"

Great additional reporting... And by the way, did I forget to mention that...

THEY DID IT!!!!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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