crime

'Japan: Guilty Until Proven Innocent' documentary shines light on controversial legal system

71 Comments
By Scott Wilson, RocketNews24

Japan is known for being one of the countries with the lowest crime rate in the world. Numerous reasons are given for this such as the illegality of weapons, a smaller wealth gap, or unspoken rules of conduct that people live by.

But one other factor behind such low crime could have a darker reason to it: fear of the Japanese legal system.

Al Jazeera news recently put out a documentary on that very subject, showing one of the scarier parts of Japan that most people don’t have experience with. The full video is below.

The documentary follows the story of Keiko Aoki, a woman who in 1995 was convicted of setting her house on fire and intentionally murdering her daughter to collect life insurance money. Her conviction was based solely on her and her husband’s written confessions that they claimed were made under extreme duress.

Keiko and her husband spent the next 20 years in jail, claiming they were innocent the entire time. It wasn’t until earlier this year that the verdict for their retrial was finally delivered, proclaiming them not guilty.

But why would someone confess to a crime they didn’t commit? Put simply, the documentary claims that the Japanese legal system is designed to extract confessions no matter what.

In Keiko’s case, she was held in an interrogation room with police investigators who constantly yelled and berated her for 12 hours straight. She was never allowed to see a lawyer. Eventually, she was told by police that her husband had already confessed to the crime, so she should too. Mentally destroyed, she gave up and wrote a confession dictated to her by police.

Keiko claims that confusion, exhaustion, and the guilt of not being able to save her daughter came together to make her admit to a crime she was innocent of.

In Japan, anyone can be held by police for 23 days without being charged. Lawyers are not allowed in interrogation rooms, and police are not required to record any of the interrogation sessions. As Hiroshi Ichikawa, a former Japanese prosecutor described, investigators can just rotate in and out as they get tired of questioning the suspect, until he or she is so mentally exhausted that they will admit to anything to make it stop.

But why is the Japanese legal system so intense when it comes to extracting confessions from the accused? Ichikawa claims it’s because there’s immense pressure on police and prosecutors to obtain a guilty verdict. In a country with a near universal conviction rate, no one wants to be the only lawyer who failed to get a guilty verdict, so they’ll do anything to get it.

The documentary is very enlightening about a part of Japan that is rarely discussed. If you want to watch the full documentary, check it out on Al Jazeera’s website or official YouTube page.

When it comes to false convictions and innocent people behind bars, Japan is not alone. The U.S. and other developed countries have just as many – if not more – legal problems. But the only way any of them can change is by getting the word out that there is a problem in the first place, and this documentary is a great first step in letting people know that the system that is supposed to serve them is broken.

Source: YouTube/Al Jazeera English via Twitter@AJ101East

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 27-year-old in Japan arrested for 3-D printed pistol, says he didn’t know it was illegal -- Osaka man imprisoned on rape conviction released in exceptional reversal of charges -- Man found innocent of indecent assault denied 12 million yen compensation by Supreme Court of Japan

© Japan Today

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71 Comments
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Japan's legal system is horrendous when it comes to the rights of accused. The police are often more focused on convicting someone than on finding the actual guilty party. They just find someone they feel looks guilty, then spend time getting them to confess, and finding evidence to support their confirmation bias. Meanwhile, the actual criminal is still out there.

The U.S. and other developed countries have just as many – if not more – legal problems.

The US has it's problems, but does a much better job with suspect rights than Japan does.

Low overall crime rate? This partly depends on the definition of crime. There are lots of crimes but "crime" has been promoted as synonymous with violent crime, which may be low.

There are lots of violent crimes as well, but the crime rate is still low. What are the numbers of the non-violent crimes, and how to they compare to non-violent crime rates in other countries?

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Japan is known for being one of the countries with the lowest [REPORTED] crime rate in the world

There are many crimes in Japan that go unreported...

15 ( +23 / -8 )

The story is spot on. Japan's criminal justice system is a joke. Forced confessions are used routinely instead of evidence. Maybe one day we will enter the 20th Century, never mind 21st.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Japan is known for being one of the countries with the lowest crime rate in the world. Numerous reasons are given for this

Low overall crime rate? This partly depends on the definition of crime. There are lots of crimes but "crime" has been promoted as synonymous with violent crime, which may be low.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

Guilty until proven innocent? Guilty until you confess is more like it. I've only had two run ins with the cops in Japan, both times as a witness, but it was very clear they were making me out to be the bad guy and trying to intimidate me. The first time was when I grabbed a deviate for taking photos up a high school girl's skirt on an escalator at the train station. They interviewed him for 20 minutes and let him go. They held me for two hours and interrogated and attempted to intimidate me into signing a form that said I was mistaken and I apologize to the perve for causing him so much trouble. I flatly refused to sign it, so they then really started hassling me about everything. They threatened me with losing my job and even canceling my visa. This was just because I grabbed a perve. The cops told me that, they made him delete the photo and apologise and they let him go. In the end, after listening to all their garbage and continuing to refuse to sign a BS statement they said, "This is Japan business. You should stay out of it! I'm not kidding or exaggerating. The Japanese law system is not law at all! It's just another phase of the bullying culture.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@John-San riiight. Hate to break it to you but I'm a black American and the only ones that get the "evil eye" from the police and more likely to have guns pointed at them are people who act "thug/gangster/convict" . Don't act like a thug life, one will not be treated like a thug life. The thug lives don't comprehend it.

Japan's "law" system is a joke, and the "procedures" that the police in Japan are supposed to follow are not even there. It could be improved drastically, but that's up to the legislature to figure out... and we know how helpful they are....

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The "Japan Legal System" is very close to the same system they use in China. 23 days of interrogation prior to being charged with anything. During these interrogations they tag team prosecutors day and night until the captor breaks and will sign anything to end the torture. If that isn't bad enough, at the end of 23 days they will charge them with a slightly different crime and it starts all over again. You just have to hope you are not in the wrong place at the wrong time.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

To detain a person for 23 days, the police must first file a petition for arrest warrant to a court

It is not an arrest warrant, those are issued when the police turn over the suspect to the public prosecutors for trial or when the police have evidence to prosecute but still are investigating the crime or crimes.

A petition must be filed to further detain a suspect.

Oh and to all the folks that think Japan is "innocent until proven guilty" I hope this article stops the constant references to this theory when they comment on posts here.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

answer this: why are interrogations of suspects by police in japan not recorded either by video or by microphone?

just give me a straight answer.

the only POSSIBLE reason that explains this lack of proper recordkeeping is that the japanese police are using illegal techniques to convict people who are not guilty of crimes.

police and prosecutors involved in cases like these deserve to face capital punishment charges for their parts in so flagrantly abusing justice.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

In my dealings with the police here, I have noticed that there is a very strict application and readiness to charge. Maybe, this explains why so many people consider it preferable to flee from the police nowadays.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

In my Japanese family there have been burglaries at the Grandma's house, and sister-in-laws (repeatedly), as well as relatives in jail. The police are basically useless and expect "you" to get the evidence. I was once a witness of a street fight and basically kept in a windowless room for 2 hours as if I had done something wrong.

However, due to the propaganda, they have selective acknowledgement of such crimes as burglary, etc. and don't even consider them when saying it is a safe country.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The fire started from inside a locked garage attached to the house. Only the parents had the key to the garage.

Which is not evidence that they started the fire at all.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

There are lots of violent crimes as well, but the crime rate is still low. What are the numbers of the non-violent crimes, and how to they compare to non-violent crime rates in other countries?

Who knows, Strangerland. As I said, it depends on what is a crime. Much corporate and white collar crime seems to be dealt with a parallel bureaucratic guidance system, not in courts, and who knows how much of it comes to light? There may be no internationally-agreed standards either. But when Japanese, and many foreigners, say Japan is low crime they seem to mean there is less chance of being randomly attacked on the street or in your own home. What the overall level of crime is is anyone's guess.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

The serious problems in that case, and many others like it, are real, though the overall image of Japan`s criminal justice system ends up being a bit sensationalized by it.

The conviction rate is about 99% for cases that proceed to trial, and confessions are often the cornerstone piece of evidence, and the system for obtaining those is clearly stacked against the accused. What needs to be added though is that relatively few cases actually go to trial in Japan since police and prosecutors have several steps on the way in which they will let people go. Japan`s prison population is around 75,000 compared to 2 million in the US (a per capita rate more than 10 times higher), so despite the high conviction rate very few people who come into contact with the police actually go to prison, because police and prosecutors will either let people they believe to be innocent go, or they will seek some informal settlement for minor offences like property crimes in which the perpetrator pays restitution in exchange for avoiding prosecution.

That flexibility in the initial stages of an investigation only really helps people accused of minor offences. For murder and other serious crimes it isn`t an option, and if the police believe you have committed murder then you are in trouble because of the procedural shortcomings that allow them to extract false confessions. There have been some reforms aimed at alleviating this but nowhere near enough...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Then, who?

Your premise that someone had to start the fire is false to begin with.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There are many crimes in Japan that go unreported...

And when reported, the police reject all the ones that are not easy to convince...

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Essentially, anyone who goes to police first, wins. When an accusation is made against someone, he/she is considered guilty until someone else confesses, because nobody is even going to look for the real criminal! Sometimes they do this to the extreme. I had a cicil case where my ex-wife assaulted me with a hammer but accused me of domestic violence. Because she changed her statement and had not mentioned that she broke the door of my room trying to enter, the judge realized she was lying. But still only resisted issuing an order for 20 days and finally issued according to her lawyer because essentially the accuser wins! There is so much injustice in this system. In a way, we live in a modern North Korea, but the thinking is not that different.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The US has it's problems, but does a much better job with suspect rights than Japan does.your not a Black American Stanger. Japanese police don,t go around killing unarmed innocent black people.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

"Solely"?

No.

What was the other evidence that she killed her daughter then?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Another example why all interrogations should take place in the presence of an attorney and be videotaped, neither of which is standard practice in Japan. Police are free to abuse suspects for up to 6 weeks, w/o the suspect being allowed so much as a phone call. Amnesty International has railed about these abuses for years, but Japan hides behind the same excuses used by the Chinese - internal practices are sacrosanct and immune from foreign criticism. Criticize what you like about the US - Ill agree about 90% of the time - but you can rest assured youll never see this sort of documentary made in Japan or shown on TV in Japan, whereas 13th was made by a US company and shown worldwide.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan may need its own version of a CSI series

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I know a guy who spent the 23 days in custody (though I thought it was more to be honest) on very minor drug charges, about 10 years ago. He was a very gregarious and larger than life personality before he went in, and much more sober and circumspect afterwards.

I want nothing to do with the Japanese legal system.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is no such a thing like a "minor drug charge" in Japan, much less a "very minor drug charge".

Quite so, but like the guy who was suspected of murder but got off with only an "abandoning a corpse" charge when all the so-called evidence pointed at him, teaches the prepared to keep their mouths shut.

3 weeks a a long time yes, but if faced with spending your life in jail, I think one needs to consider the options.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

as I've said before if your wrongly accused of a crime in Japan and being interrogated by J police SAY NOTHING! unless there is an attorney present and the interrogation is being recorded. (much harder for police to abuse the system when there being watched) I understand it amounts to torture and people do crack under pressure, but if the your innocent, a month of interrogation / torture is far better than years if not decades of false imprisonment!!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Al Jazeera video suggests they had a 18 million yen insurance policy on her daughter's life. Do you know anyone who has an insurance policy that big on their kid's lives? What are you insuring for? I'm not saying she is 100℅ guilty, but I can understand why police might think there is a strong likelihood she is.

Here's one for the foreign men married to Japanese women. How many of you have life insurance on your life but not on theirs? Personally, I would want to make sure they are okay if I died, but I wouldn't want to "gain" anything from my wife's death. My life would be pretty much over anyway,i think.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

she gave up and wrote a confession dictated to her by police

They do this with the charge sheet for traffic accidents using a set menu of incriminating descriptors, and the motorist is obliged to sign whether they agree with the charge sheet or not.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Is there an equivalence in Japan of the famous saying:

"It's better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent man be wrongly convicted."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are many crimes in Japan that go unreported...

As if all the crimes elsewhere are reported.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan may need its own version of a CSI series If you watch any Japanese TV you'll know it already has it's own version. does the Japanese version show the weeks of forced interrogations!? no I didnt think so.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

There is no such a thing like a "minor drug charge" in Japan, much less a "very minor drug charge".

Yeah, you are right, that's not really what I meant. What I meant was he was caught with a TINY amount of cannabis, and that was enough to be held in solitary for the best part of a month.

This is Japan business. You should stay out of it!

And let that be a lesson to you, Disillusioned!!! Don't you dare tamper with Japan's major national pastime!!!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Some of the worst criminals here wear badges and get away with almost anything.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hope people who want to reform system use factual cases than his partial research.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

investigators can just rotate in and out as they get tired of questioning the suspect, until he or she is so mentally exhausted that they will admit to anything to make it stop.

This is the biggest problem with Japan. This isn't police work it's paperwork and allowing the real perpetrators of crimes to go free.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

like China

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Great wonder what Keiko Aoki purchased life-insurance not against herself but against the death of her daughter (and her son) for?

That's a pretty common life insurance policy here. I have that for my kids since it is bundled together as an education/ health fund as well.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Lucky him! not being caught in China in current Phillipines

Or Singapore or Malaysia too...I wonder how much the "tiny" was, and the cops here were probably looking for where he bought the weed in the first place, more than wanting to know why he was using it.

The friend here was a tiny fish is a bigger ocean I'll bet. Wonder what or who he gave up to walk free.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Burke

The police bully and strong arm suspects in custody with the single goal of getting a signed confession. Not only will they not record or tape these interrogations, they will not allow the presence of a lawyer for fear they will talk the suspects out of signing a confession. The longer the interrogations go the louder they get. With success 99.9 percent of the time they know they can wear them down. It's the "catch all" Japanese justice system. Catch all those guilty and innocent.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are the Police drawn from a certain section of the Japanese society. like do the police force recruited from police family ? Or from families involve in local, prefecture of national government ? Do women police have the same culture of obtaining a confession ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's shocking and could be stopped. Unless it's "convictions" of Japanese soldiers from the war, based entirely on anecdotal evidence of elderly Chinese people who have lived 65+ years under a communist regime, then those are totally true and legitimate and must not be questioned.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Does anybody know the name of the Japanese Law & Order or CSI? Googling Japanese law legal sitcom show doesn't come up with any results. There was an anime, but it dealt with clowns (literally) and other goofy stuff - think it was called Gyakuten Saiban.

I Just Didn't Do It is another movie showcasing the Japanese legal system, though a minor offence (alleged groping). The actual perp apologized and got off, the other accused did not and because of such, was detained. It is subtitled for the Japanese Impaired ;)=

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I Just Didn't Do It is another movie showcasing the Japanese legal system, though a minor offence (alleged groping).

That's a good movie. In Japanese it's called それでも僕はやってない. A better translation I feel would be Even so, I didn't do it. After watching that movie, I decided that if I ever get accused of groping, I'm running like hell. And I always keep my hands up high when riding a packed train - one hand holding the strap, the other across my shoulder, or holding my phone, or something. Anything to make sure both hands are always visible.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Nessie better for whom? They were in jail for 20 years!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Foot and mouth stranger. Erbaviva. The main reason why there was a retrial was because of forensic evidence. It was proven after many tests that if a person had started the fire, that person would be severely burnt. The boy friend had on evidence of burning on his cloths nor his body. Cop don,t want to find evidence proving innocent just evidence to prove guilt. Mate I do the same, After hearing of the policy. I would do the old "here is your boy friend confession. But I would not make much of a cop!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

More reasons to never live in Japan

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Or Singapore or Malaysia too...I wonder how much the "tiny" was, and the cops here were probably looking for where he bought the weed in the first place, more than wanting to know why he was using it.

A roach. And without wanting to give too much away, he was identified due to an earlier bust. Very tiny fish indeed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Painful . But I am sure that this exist in Japan , China of course is number one

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is why Japan wants to implement those "terrorist scanner" machines, to prevent the likes of Al Jazeera staff from getting in.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The court reopened and acquitted the case because the fire could have started spontaneously.

Not just that it could have started spontaneously but that they couldn't have started it either.

But, we can at least say the case is not based solely on confession.

No, we can't.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Al Jazeera video suggests they had a 18 million yen insurance policy on her daughter's life. Do you know anyone who has an insurance policy that big on their kid's lives? What are you insuring for? I'm not saying she is 100℅ guilty, but I can understand why police might think there is a strong likelihood she is.

In a way it's almost better if they were guilty but were found innocent. It will teach the police and prosecutors to be more careful.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The U.S. and other developed countries have just as many – if not more – legal problems.

Not relevant to the abuse present in Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I recently watched the documentary "13th". I would much rather deal with the Japanese than the Americans. OMG the US Justice System is a complete travesty. "Cash for Kids"?. Ya...Japan has a problem.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

The fire started from inside a locked garage attached to the house. Only the parents had the key to the garage.

If that is true, then they certainly did it. On the other hand, they were (eventually) cleared. Ergo, it is not true.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The story? Suddenly the mother decided to insure her daughter for how many millions of yen and the girl died right after. And yes, she has been reported to have been raped multiple times by her Korean Step-dad and suffered physical abuse from her parents as corroborated by witnesses. The only problem was that the police instead of looking for evidences took the short cut and just decided to prosecute by using their confession. So the whole event fell apart not because the parents were not porven guilty, it was because the kestone cops did not want to work and collect forensic evidence.

Go back to jail mom and dad. You are not saints. You are not victims.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@James BurkeOCT. 17, 2016 - 07:51PM JST

answer this: why are interrogations of suspects by police in japan not recorded either by video or by microphone? just give me a straight answer.

First, until relatively recently, this would be considered natural, in Japan and elsewhere. If you need an analogy, consider the progress in fitting policemen with bodycams in the US or Britain. Used to be, the officer's word is good enough.

Second, while undoubtedly the surveillance will avoid abuses, it will also degrade the quality of any interrogation taken legitimately (from the ministry's position, it must assume most interrogations are taken legitimately). The ideal of the Japanese long interrogation is effectively a heart to heart talk between suspect and interrogator that eventually coaxes the suspect into confessing. And while advocates of recording will insist otherwise, I'm skeptical of their claims that the average person will really be able to give heart to heart talks under a camera, knowing parts or all of it will be aired in front of a random audience.

Third, in the long run, videotaping also means revealing interrogation tactics, including legitimate ones. It is not hard to imagine defense counsel advising their clients of such tactics, halving their value before the game even starts.

A similar story lies behind lawyers. The quality of an interrogation with a lawyer in the same room can be easily imagined.

And before one considers that reducing the quality of interrogations will force reliance on objective evidence, it must be considered that unlike in TV shows, real life cases often do not have piles of forensic evidence and are reduced to one or two witnesses or circumstantial evidence.

It is also true that in the absence of mind-reading tech, low quality interrogations means accepting low standards on proving the mens rea (subjective aspect) of the crime. After all, prosecutors might convince a defendant to cede the objective side of things if you can show or bluff proof, but even a layman realizes you can't scan his mind and so he will insist it wasn't intentional, especially if he gets a lawyer to coach him. Based on American practice, what winds up happening is either prosecutor bluffing him into conceding with exaggerated charges and / or accepting circumstantial evidence to presume (rather than prove) the mens rea.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Guilty as charged. I will not lose a sleep over these murderers and thieves. I volunteer to pull the trigger.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Quite terrible, reminds me of the inhumane plea bargaining system in the US, however that is far worse and systematic. At least violent crime here is miniscule compared to overseas. TBH how could anyone falsely confess to murdering their own daughter..

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Sioux ChefOCT. 17, 2016 - 02:10PM JST

What was the other evidence that she killed her daughter then?

The fire started from inside a locked garage attached to the house. Only the parents had the key to the garage.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Dillusioned

When did it happen? Where exactly ?name the police station and the cops. If real story, that's the bigger news than Wasabi-Sushi, Osaka Train. You shouldn't given up. That's big shame.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Poor people can held indefinitely in US Prisons- police set the bail deliberately too high to keep an accused poor person there. Poor people know that- that's why there are so many black people who resist arrest.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Japan may need its own version of a CSI series

If you watch any Japanese TV you'll know it already has it's own version.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

There are many crimes in Japan that go unreported...

I doubt that is Japan specific

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Babubu3

That's a pretty common life insurance policy here. I have that for my kids since it is bundled together as an education/ health fund as well

Yeah, except for the insurance she purchased was pure accidental death insurance covering accidental injury and permanent disability, not covering education/health other etc.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Sioux ChefOCT. 17, 2016 - 03:31PM JST

Your premise that someone had to start the fire is false to begin with.

Good detective work, Sioux.

The court reopened and acquitted the case because the fire could have started spontaneously. But, we can at least say the case is not based solely on confession.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

TBH how could anyone falsely confess to murdering their own daughter..

Not just that, Great wonder what Keiko Aoki purchased life-insurance not against herself but against the death of her daughter (and her son) for?

What kind of justice has been done to her Korean husband who had been raping her, which he admitted and proven by DNA?

Al Jazeera news really screwed up picking up one of the worst cases to support main subject.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Everything about Japan is fallacy.

You got to live here (in Japan) more than 25 years. Not just that but through my kind of skin (colour and as a woman) only then you will know, you will see, and then you will not come to a such childish or such ignoramus conclusions...

How about Karyuki-san tachi?

Then how about Shunga, Kiboshi, Mizushobai, Baishunfu, Akasen, all that is cosidred as fuzoku...

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Most legal systems are extremely faulty. The USA has a 97% plea bargaining rate which means that many people admit to crimes they did not commit from fear of very harsh penalties if convicted. In Japan the lawyers cannot help you, in the US if you do not have money then the lawyers cannot help you. I hope Japan can improve their justice system, however I would still pick it over most others as is.

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

In Japan, anyone can be held by police for 23 days without being charged.

When will English media stop this misinformation? Police cannot detain a person without a warrant issued by a court.

To detain a person for 23 days, the police must first file a petition for arrest warrant to a court. If the petition is granted and the arrest warrant is issued by a court, the police can arrest a person for 24 hours. The police must refer the suspect to the public prosecutor by the end of 24 hours. If the public prosecutor decides that the case is not worth prosecuting, he releases the suspect. If the prosecutor decides to pursue the case, he can detain the suspect for another 48 hours. By the end of 72 hours from the initial arrest, the public prosecutor must release the suspect unless the court issues an order for additional 10 day detention based on a petition by the public prosecutor. And by the end of 10 days and 72 hours from the initial arrest, the public prosecutor must release the suspect unless the court issues an order for additional 10 day detention based on a petition by the public prosecutor.

So, the suspect is referred to the court 3 times and referred to the public prosecutor one time. Isn't it confusing or deceitful to call it "without being charged"?

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

TamaramaOCT. 17, 2016 - 05:27PM JST

I know a guy who spent the 23 days in custody (though I thought it was more to be honest) on very minor drug charges

There is no such a thing like a "minor drug charge" in Japan, much less a "very minor drug charge".

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Sioux ChefOCT. 17, 2016 - 03:26PM JST

Which is not evidence that they started the fire at all.

Then, who?

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

What I meant was he was caught with a TINY amount of cannabis, and that was enough to be held in solitary for the best part of a month.

Lucky him! not being caught in China in current Phillipines

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

al-Jazeera: Her conviction was based solely on her and her husband’s written confessions that they claimed were made under extreme duress.

"Solely"?

No.

-17 ( +2 / -19 )

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