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Ghosn puts Japan's justice system on trial

64 Comments
By YURI KAGEYAMA

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former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is unlikely to stand trial in a real court,

So, Japan does not have 'real' courts. Yuk! Yuk!

17 ( +21 / -4 )

Though former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is unlikely to stand trial in a real court, he has made himself a key witness in putting Japan's justice system on trial.

Well, turn-about IS fair play! He has been tried and convicted in the court of the Japanese media, so maybe, just maybe, the court of world media will have an effect!

In the meantime I will not hold my breath expecting any real changes here!

19 ( +21 / -2 )

Well see, but fingers crossed. Two Japanese links regarding Japan's 'Hostage Justice'.

Kaku Imamura: 'Legal Professionals Call for an End to Japan's 'Hostage Justice'

http://www.fccj.or.jp/news-and-views/club-news-multimedia/1955-kaku-imamura-legal-professionals-call-for-an-end-to-japan-s-hostage-justice.html

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations

https://www.nichibenren.or.jp/en/about/activities/Criminal_Justice.html

13 ( +15 / -2 )

This is important: "Japanese officials insist the conviction rate is so high because they don’t make mistakes."

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Problems of Japan's Justice System is one thing and wrongdoings of Ghosn is another thing.

-13 ( +7 / -20 )

The lack of any debate on the court system in Japan and the

presumption that reform is not

necessary points to a high degree of arrogance and lack of foresight.

For example, the detention of 23 days means that a salaried worker would be extremely likely to have severe work related issues and consequences.

The confession based system is not reliant on facts and obviously is open to abuse.

Right from the get-go,there is immense pressure on the defendant to ‘make it all go away’

What institution prides itself on the lack of reform?

In the real world, companies constantly review and reform to give better products and service.

Any enlightened individual recognizes that the same theory does apply to all institutions.

However, the MOJ and politicians think otherwise, to the detriment of the people in Japan...

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Mori, Suga, the prosecutors, with their inflexibility and unwillingness to truly listen and integrate criticism, have lost the PR war.

I cannot count the amount of news outlets who are now publishing pieces about Japan's justice system.

The coverage that the Japanese justice system is getting now... all of that has been building up for many years.

Faced with international criticism, the official modus operandi is to build a united front and say that everything is ok when clearly things are not ok.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

Because of Japan’s extremely low crime rate, how suspects are treated is surprisingly unknown to Japanese, who tend to trust authoritative figures and assume no one gets arrested without a reason.

I will retort with prosecutors only process cases that are "iron 100% clad" allowing many to walk free. it does appear if you do not confess they will probably drop the case. Evidence not part of their job. Grilling you for hours without a lawyer or any recording now that is how they play. Trust is earned should never be given blindly.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Ghosn puts Japan's justice system on trial

Good!!

Tokyo prosecutors, who arrested him in late 2018, said Ghosn had “only himself to blame” for being detained 130 days before being released and for the strict bail conditions like being banned from seeing his wife.

WHY?? HOW??

Jacques Deguest, an expert on Japanese law and business, thinks Ghosn’s case is so embarrassing for Japan it may discourage some non-Japanese from wanting to invest or live in Japan.

It should. ESPECIALLY the latter.

“Prosecutors are regarded as guardians and protectors of Japanese culture,” said Deguest, an investor, lawyer and consultant.

Morning sickness.

Among the famous cases of wrongful convictions is Iwao Hakamada, who spent 48 years in prison until new DNA evidence won his release from death row in 2014. He had been questioned, beaten and bullied by police daily in detention and confessed to murdering a family of four, but asserted his innocence when his trial began.

How can ANYONE defend a system that does that??

Ghosn was careful not to blame the people of Japan for what he called the nation’s injustices.

The same goes for most of us posters here.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

First the iPhone took over, then Sony products lost market share, then All Korean auto and electronics companies took over from Japanese goods, and now a fake justice system. Japanese are not adaptable to the world, so they make their own world and they think the real world will follow them. A lost cause and I can only imagine the challenges Japan will face when all the tattooed foreigners (athletes and tourists) come to the summer olympics.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

@Aly Rustom

No justice system is 100% accurate. Also you would be hard pressed to find a truly fair justice system anywhere. The reality is, it was very unlikely he would have received a fair trial anywhere. Because of his wealth and status justice systems would have either been stacked against him or in his favor.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

It’s an entrenched system that not only leads to confessions but also has judges thinking suspects are guilty, says Tokyo defense lawyer Seiho Cho, who has been trying to change the system.

This comment is fantastic to hear, and supports Ghosn's statements. I agree and have seen the same thing. It seems the judicial system is reluctant to make any risky decisions and uses the "confession paper" to protect themselves. I applaude Mr. Seiho Cho for speaking out to the press.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

....a judicial system rooted in “its history and culture.”

In other words: bullying.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

No justice system is 100% accurate. Also you would be hard pressed to find a truly fair justice system anywhere. The reality is, it was very unlikely he would have received a fair trial anywhere. Because of his wealth and status justice systems would have either been stacked against him or in his favor.

So you use this argument to justify the system here?

13 ( +13 / -0 )

It's quite ironic that the one Japanese bengoshi in this article speaking up, Seiho Cho, is most likely a Japanese of Korean origin, who historically were beaten down by the Japanese justice system. I'd like to see the leaders of the three Tokyo Bar Associations (the Tokyo Bar Association, the Dai-Ichi Tokyo Bar Assocation and the Dai-Ni Tokyo Bar Assocation) have the cahones to speak up here. Unlikely.... because they are all at the same trough as the prosecutors and judges. More embarrassing still is the silence of the big foreign law firms (well, forget about Latham....!!), the ACCJ and the foreign correspondents.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Want a fair treatment ? Akie specializes in all men's problems.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

What this has done is put into focus the medieval justice system,which is more about getting a conviction through nook or by forced confessions.Japan, sensitive and very protective of its reputation,cannot win the battle in the international court of public opinion, because there's no person of authority willing or able to launch a retort in English. For a country that harps on about internationalization,show and prove it then.Bleating to a passive,simple,homegrown audience is not enough.In this year of hosting the Olympics, it's not a good look.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

“It has become now my duty to defend all those people to change this regime that the Japanese are hiding and they claim is a democracy,” he said.

If the Japanese can see this saga as an opportunity to better society, Ghosn’s suffering will have become well worth it. It has become Ghosn versus the Prosecution but it is the introduction of the concept of due process in Japan.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

This is interesting. It sounds as if there are some real facts in question, questions that could be resolved with a trial. Did he, or did he not receive the pay? (He says no, the Japanese government says yes). Did he, or did he not report it and pay taxes? What is the penalty in Japan for tax evasion? Right now, I have to say that Japan's behavior doesn't make it seem like they are interested in a trial, much less a fair trial. This deal of successive arrests to hold him 23 days at a time, isolating him from his wife even when he is out on bail - it just smells bad. Plus the reported differences in prosecuting Ghosn versus not prosecuting ethnic Japanese from Nissan for the same behavior smacks of a vendetta by the Japanese government. Perhaps there should be a fair trial somewhere outside Japan...

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Among the famous cases of wrongful convictions is Iwao Hakamada, who spent 48 years in prison until new DNA evidence won his release from death row in 2014

Frenchman Mark Karpeles was arrested in 2015 after his bitcoin exchange collapsed. He spent 11 months in detention, although he was eventually cleared of embezzlement and fraud allegations.

A true-life story of a man who refused to sign a confession that he groped a woman on a crowded commuter train became a popular 2007 movie. The film depicts a five-year legal battle for exoneration, highlighting the burden of proof of innocence was on the accused rather than police and prosecutors proving guilt.

I would like to add Toshikazu Sugaya to the above three cases. He was a kindergarten bus driver who spent 17 years in prison before being exonerated through DNA testing, the very tests that was used to convict him. In this case known as the Ashikaga case, the reliability of DNA testing overshadowed the necessity to investigate the system when the innocent is forced to sign a confession.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

An additional outrageous characteristic of Japan’s "justice" system is the practice to allow exculpatory evidence -- evidence that would exonerate the defendant of the alleged crime – to be withheld from the defense. Absolutely unconscionable!  (This fact is reported in a recent column by Colin P.A. Jones, a professor at Doshisha Law School in Kyoto and primary author of "The Japanese Legal System.")

14 ( +14 / -0 )

@Yubaru

So you use this argument to justify the system here?

I haven't justified any system. But I can't complain against the Japanese system when the fact remains is that it would probably treat me much more fairly than my own justice system in America as a black man.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

it would probably treat me much more fairly than my own justice system in America as a black man.

Oh, newsflash! All gaijin fall under the same umbrella. There's no playing favourites in japan. The system is archaic and it's long overdue for an overhaul. I'm glad a giant magnifying glass is being held on japan. Given it's disdain for looking bad, hopefully some real changes can come about.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Oh, newsflash! All gaijin fall under the same umbrella. There's no playing favourites in japan.

So you are saying a justice system that treats all outsiders the same is more unjust than a justice system that treats it's own citizens like outsiders because they are a different color?

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

So you are saying a justice system that treats all outsiders the same is more unjust than a justice system that treats it's own citizens like outsiders because they are a different color?

See that's your mistake. You're assuming japan has a real justice system. Newsflash! It doesn't. The racism that permeates america is its own problem that should be fixed by america. Justice is supposed to be blind but if you have bigoted people running things then everything changes. The problem is racists not the system.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

I can only imagine the challenges Japan will face when all the tattooed foreigners (athletes and tourists) come to the summer olympics.

2020 Olympics boycott is probably the best way to get the message across I have cancelled my support and I advise others to do the same.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

only himself to blame

Classic Japanese police, if you sign this confession you can leave now. I hope they don't seriously believe this was a good statement.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

The problem is racists not the system.

The fact that you don't see a justice system built on race being one and the same is a bigger problem.

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Japanese officials insist the conviction rate is so high because they don’t make mistakes and only guilty people are prosecuted.

Yeah, right...

Invalid CSRF

8 ( +9 / -1 )

only himself to blame

Classic Japanese police, if you sign this confession you can leave now. I hope they don't seriously believe this was a good statement

Yes, again this was a presumption of guilt rather than innocence. He complied with the police investigation fully (interrogated 8hrs a day/night) and it was actually the prosecutors that refused to share evidence that could be used to build a case. If they knew it was evidence, it means they knew what could be done with it - not 'potential' evidence even, actual things that they planned to use against him. None of this is refuted by the investigators, they're simply ignoring it because they know they are wrong

12 ( +13 / -1 )

The point is.. (as someone already mentioned) in Japan, all foreigners are put in one box (no pun intended)

8 ( +8 / -0 )

JJ

No justice system is 100% accurate.

No one said otherwise

Also you would be hard pressed to find a truly fair justice system anywhere.

Most places though, you have your day in court.

The reality is, it was very unlikely he would have received a fair trial anywhere.

He didn't even get to have a trial in Japan. That's the whole point.

>

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Almost everything the Japanese are saying in this article is almost parody-like. Our perfect system is to keep our history and culture! We don't make mistakes! The foreigner just doesn't understand Japanese culture!

13 ( +14 / -1 )

Japanese hostage justice system has not been changed for 100 years. Prosecutors have made false accusations (I guess quite many) in the past because they try to force suspects to confess the crime first even if they did not. Many criminals lately turned out to be innocent after spending many years in prison because of more scientific re-examinations of evidences. Maybe Ghosn knows these well about prosecutors done in the past.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

how we say {hostage justice} in Japanese ?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In point of fact, it was the behaviour of the Tokyo Prosecutors' Office and the DoJ's penchant for hostage justice and coerced confession in lieu of empirical evidence that has put the Japanese criminal justice system in the dock. All the more unfortunate is the fact that they will both dig in their heels and refuse to learn anything from this experience.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@This is important: "Japanese officials insist the conviction rate is so high because they don’t make mistakes."

Because if your on the other side of the law against Japan you have no rights to a fair and impartial trial. Guilty. Just like the media papers who everyday censor and oppress free speech Japan Times moderators not excluded as they will quickly suspend your account, remove your post if it doesn't suit the moderator reading it and doesn't understand, boom gone, that is censorship and oppression.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

“The defendant Ghosn was deemed a high-profile risk, which is obvious from the fact that he actually fled,” they said." Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. How can you run a system of justice when those in charge are not even able to identify and avoid basic logical fallacies?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

how we say {hostage justice} in Japanese ?

It's Hitojichi shihō 人質司法

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitojichi_shih%C5%8D

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japanese officials insist the conviction rate is so high because they don’t make mistakes.

This is simply a big lie. It seems to me prosecutors are sometimes making mistakes about accusations. Some bad prosecutors don't want to admit mistakes, maybe they don't want to lose face about it, so bad prosecutors will intend to change the evidences to make suspects guilty. It actually happened in the past. Humans make mistakes so prosecutors also do.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@sunfunbun Great post!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Justice Minister Masako Mori denounced Ghosn's comments as erroneous and credited Japan's extremely low crime rate to a judicial system rooted in “its history and culture.”

History and culture good for Zinjanthropuses.

“only himself to blame” l

Just listen to this hideous conceited notion !!

"They really believe that this system is functioning efficiently and correctly,” he said.

We once believed the sun revolved round the earth. Didn't make it right **just because we believed.**

Cho was worried about a backlash, with release on bail getting tighter.

Because of stung pride ?

Japan’s conviction rate is higher than 99%, a number that critics, including Ghosn, say indicates unfairness.

The world's worst dictators didn't make that percentage.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

人質法律制度

Is one translation but the Japanese may not think you’re criticizing their system. They’ll take it straight forward thinking you’re talking about laws and penal code for kidnapping.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan's is flawed in the basic idea of innocence until proven guilty and human rights for everyone with a fair trial. 

In fact Minister of Justice made controversial remark that can be translated "Ghosn should prove his innocence" made 無罪証明 trending topics in twitter yesterday. Of course she finally revise that, not necessarily need to revise where that the actual thing that happens in Japan.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

For example, the detention of 23 days means that a salaried worker would be extremely likely to have severe work related issues and consequences.

The confession based system is not reliant on facts and obviously is open to abuse.

Lot of people just confessed without their lawyer present thinking that they will get their freedom immediately and move on, especially in Japan most people trust authoritative figure. Unfortunately that's not the case for Japanese justice system. By the time people already made confession even their lawyer can not do anything. 23 days for single charge, one day can be a very long time. While they will extend with new charge afterward if possible.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Upright people! You do not have any worry about Japan's Judicial System. They do not come to you. Ghosn is not an American yet the criticisms expressed here may include many Americans opinions too. I am getting a shock that Americans have ill feelings to us. They are insulting us Japan outdated, unfair, inhumane corrupt etc. etc. Japanese government and people have good feelings to U.S. and we have thought we are good friends but they may not be thinking so. Prejudices to asians and their superior feelings prevalent among them.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I haven't justified any system. But I can't complain against the Japanese system when the fact remains is that it would probably treat me much more fairly than my own justice system in America as a black man.

I dont care if you are black, green, red, yellow, or any other color, and I dont particularly care either about the system you are CHOOSING to live in, I care about the one I live in here.

You comment sure as hell sounded like justification to me!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

A farcical justice system. I am suspicious about my neighbor eating pock, on a Friday. Rack them, they are obviously guilty. Tourture them really tourture them to admit their crime maybe I can buy their house cheep while they are in jail. Justice in Japan is a beautiful thing if you wear a suite.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

As a naturalized Japanese who grew up in the Chicago area, I cannot help wondering if any of those condemning Japan are black, Hispanics, or poor whites who have been busted in the US. I've looked at several hundred English language articles about the Ghosn case. I have yet to find anyone who has analyzed Ghosn's treatment in Japan from the perspective of poor or minority Americans.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Please stay on topic. The U.S. is not relevant to this discussion.

Disillusioned

Today  06:43 am JST

former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn is unlikely to stand trial in a real court,

So, Japan does not have 'real' courts. Yuk! Yuk!

13( +16 / -3 )

I'm sorry for you and your supporters' poor sentence comprehension level. The meaning is the opposite of your comment.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Ghosn puts Japan's justice system on trial

As it should be !!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Carlos is doing this for all foreigners working in japan, Blue to white collars , even for real hard-working people who were often bullied by bad poor minded and hearted sweet talking Japanese, who are like saikawa and his gang. It is not only the system, it is the culture of meaness in power. This is not correct and not humane. I have been in this country for 31 years and I can tell U, that what Carlos had experienced in japan is very real.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I have yet to find anyone who has analyzed Ghosn's treatment in Japan from the perspective of poor or minority Americans.

The American system is far from perfect. The best example is plea bargaining where prosecutors threaten severe charges to get a person (even if innocent) to agree to a lesser charge. In addition, people who have less influence (money, race, sexual orientation, etc.) tend to suffer disproportionately. Prosecutors are also not held accountable for violating people's rights, like withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense. That said, a judge would dismiss a case or at least declare a mistrial if there was prosecutor misconduct.

However, there is no hostage justice or confessions obtained through torture. A person must be charged within one or two days or they are released. There is an opportunity for bail, and judge's are more likely to be independent of the prosecution. Legal representation is a right, and a presumption of innocence and a jury trial are fundamental.

What exists in Japan is barbaric and needs to change. Will it change? I have serious doubts. More likely, the screws will tighten even further, and the human rights abuses will get worse.

I don't have a firm opinion on Ghosn and whether he committed a crime (aside from the criminal escape). The more I see, the less I believe he is guilty.

Aside from his guilt, I do believe he is just another victim of the Japanese judicial system, and only a person of his means could have escaped. The rest of us would be crushed by the Japanese judicial system, unless we apologized of course, even if we did not commit the crime.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Carlos is doing this for all foreigners working in japan

I'm too jaded to believe that Carlos is doing this for anything other than to save his own skin or that there will be any changes.

There are a number of examples of the prosecutors getting tasked with a hit job on someone who overstepped their bounds.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It's about time Japan's criminal justice system be exposed for what it is. The outside world deserves to know that injustices will not be tolerated by the external community and that the inhumane treatment of presumed criminals must come to an end. If Japan is to stand by the fact that it is a true democracy than it must abide by the rule "innocent until proven guilty". People cannot be detained for an unspecified duration of time, denied bail and questioned without a lawyer present.

This is not justice. It's being held hostage.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If Japan truly believes in their justice system, then they should not hide it - they should be more transparent

Show everyone how the system works, how the suspects are treated, how things are done, what is the process, etc. - have lawyers present; have cameras present; let the media follow; give people freedom of information and ask questions; have people learn how the laws work; educate

Let people be the jury of their peers, so people are more involved and invested in their own system

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Easier and cheaper for him would be confess he is thief.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hello:

Let' s see if change occurs in Japan. I surmise that little, if any, change will occur even a year from now--even acknowledging that improvement is necessary.I have lived in Tokyo for more than 25 years,so most of what CG said is true. For anyone not living in Japan, one question to consider. Would you trade your country's system of justice for that of Japan.

If you have never lived in Japan, this is difficult to answer. However, I am confident in stating that change in Japan is needed. Opinions without facts are not solicited.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan's detention and interrogation system is 10 business days at a time. That gives the cops and the prosecutors 10 days to build a case. If they need more time they are given a final 10 days, not 23 days.

Police have 48 hours before the must refer you to a prosecutor. Prosecutors have 24 hours before asking a judge for a 10 day detention. After 10 days they can apply for another 10 days of detention. This 10 day renewal is virtually automatic even though there is a procedure to follow in court. At the end of the second 10 days of detention they must either indict you or sent you free. 48hrs+24hrs+10days+10days=23 days. That’s 23 days of detention without having to be indicted for a crime.

If the police have enough evidence to arrest you in the first place why do they need 23 days to gather evidence?

What happens to your job if you don’t show up for 23 days? What happens to your family? Your reputation with your friends or in your neighborhood?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Jacques Deguest is an expert of nothing. He is not even a lawyer.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan, plain and simple, has a better and more efficient justice system than countries in the west. Every legal system makes mistakes. But, is it true there are more innocent in Japanese prisons than, for instance, there are in US jails? I think not, but that is a hard one to prove.

How about whether more guilty get off in the US than in Japan? This is an unequivocal yes, because again talking about the US criminal justice system, which has the philosophy that it is better for 100 guilty to go free than 1 innocent to go to jail. The broken philosophy makes for a broken society.

If you are guilty, you hope it is in the US, because you have a better chance of getting off. Test the police, get off on a technicality, rob and pillage some more. Over and over again, in the name of "human rights"!

The genius of the Japanese system is simple, DON'T do anything illegal, never get involved with the authorities in the first place, and you will be fine. Commit illegal acts, try to test the police, or even tread the gray line between right and wrong, go to a very nasty jail.

I like how there is so much less random crime in Japan, less shoplifters make better prices for all, less crime and real deterrence makes for better lives for all citizens.

Talk about human rights! Ghosn should be ashamed of himself, talking about 'human rights' while he is in Lebanon of all places!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

If Jacques is a lawyer, where is he licensed? Which law firm does he work at? Just another gaijin charlatan or carpetbagger, of which there are so many.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Also, all of you have it wrong, in fact they can hold someone up to 29 days.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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