NPA chief admits wrong people arrested over online death threats


The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2012 AFP

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

It's good that the cops are coming clean. But clearly it's time to ditch the 23-day rule for locking up citizens in prison cells and inflicting psychological torture on them.

Innocent people get fired from their jobs, their reputations are trashed forever and lives ruined. It's one (of many) contributing factor behind Japan's staggering suicide rate.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Being locked up in a place to get the truth out is by no means torture. It is better than the system everybody takes advantage of in the states. Here it's harsh but fair. I have to be one to have witnessed this treatment and I was treated with respect and after days of interrogation I was released with my reputation intact if not better. So the only ones to fear is the criminals not the innocent.

-22 ( +3 / -25 )

It's great that these innocent people had actually confessed...what greater evidence does one need of the incompetence of the Japanese system.

24 ( +24 / -0 )

This is of no surprise to me. Anyone who has ever lived in Japan knows that the Japanese police rely on forced confessions in order to get their convictions instead of real police work. Top that off with your average Japanese citizens lack of IT knowledge and I can see how this happened. They have probably ruined the lives of the individuals they wrongly arrested.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Resurfaced, I don't doubt the truth in your experience, but your opinion formed is Anecdotal, and goes against many of the known facts about the justice system in Japan. This case is a very important one as although it has long been known that the Japanese system of forcing/torturing (semantics) suspects into confession is flawed, this is undeniable evidence and admission of the fact. Hopefully the media and politicians will do their job now and demand an enquiry. All suspects deserve a treatment like yours, it is basic human rights. There is so much bait in this story, the media should have a field day. Unfortunately, what will probably happen is that the NPA chief will apologize and step down, and the story will fizzle into nothing, because the journalist and the politicians are useless and the Japanese people don't demand anything more of them.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

@ resurfaced

I'm glad you were treated fairly. But you can't assume the same applies to everybody. I take it you did not make a false confession to a serious crime. What would it take to make you do that if you were completely innocent? If it were me, it would have to be pretty heavy duty stuff.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Resurfaced - How could your reputation be better after days of interrogation?

3 ( +5 / -2 )


I was treated with respect

lucky bast@r+^

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The J NPA is not perfect but so what??

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

My sympathy goes out to those who were arrested and agree this further adds on to the pile of evidence why abolishment of the police's traditional interrogation tactics should be in order. That said, probably also true that this was quite an unprecedented case of hackers preying on innocent PC users. While the police should certainly be blamed for their misguided actions, also important to remember the actual guilt lies elsewhere.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

One of the things you look for FIRST in such cases is that the people in question themselves were being hacked and/or used as mirrors. I mean, come on! It's been literally more than a decade since spammers, not high level hackers, have been using your PCs contact lists to send out spam.

These guys need some more computer savvy people on the job.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Two confessed to the crimes, so the cops beat a false confession out of them, someone needs to investigate this crap that goes on daily.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

@resurfaced. You were very lucky. I can tell you that from my first hand experience I was wrongfully arrested, left without medical treatment for 4 days and then only recieved a cursory glance. I'm still half blind in one eye and to top or all off was forced to confess to a crime I did not commit. Even though all evidence and witnesses said I was the one being attacked. Jcops have no idea how to conduct a case and are racially abusive to boot. These guys were lucky that the truth wasn't shoved under the carpet.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

@resurfaced I truly wish you experience a 24day lockup and then another one just because you dont confess. Btw, meanwhile you locked up in a tiny cell, have to ask to use toilet, get bath twice or once a week, cant see anyone except your lawyer and cant go on bail during the period.

The system is designed for people to admit whatever because that way they might be able to get back to their jobs e.t.c. or even get on bail.

It should be limited to 24 hours but the police are lazy and incompetent and basically expect you to come clean on your own to save urself the pleasure of being there

2 ( +3 / -1 )


If the system is "harsh but fair", as you claim, how is it that two of the people arrested in this case "confessed" despite their innocence. Sounds more like "harshly unfair" to me.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

btw Resurfaced you definitely dont hold a serious position in a high level company 24 days of sudden out and HR finding out you being locked up will either get you fired or moved to bottom of the drawer almost forever

5 ( +6 / -1 )

“If it is found to be so, we will take appropriate action, including issuing apologies to those who were wrongly arrested,” Katagiri said, adding that police would introduce “more cautious measures” for tracking down cybercrime culprits whom he called cowardly.

What's really scary is what will happen if they decide to arrest someone who was supposedly "illegally downloading" material from the web. If someone could hack another computer to make it look like they sent it, then I am sure the more skillful hacker and downloaders can do the same, and if the J-cops bein to really enforce the copyright laws, I would imagine that you would see a lot of these cases.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

another day, another false confession

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is a serious problem. How to decide if eny citizen is inocent after use the web?. The knowledge of the standard citizen about this matter maybe can not be used to explain what is legal or illegal use. And under suspicious treatment of course everybody can be done a pirate.......the incompetence of authorities is dangerous but specially in this cases.

1 ( +1 / -0 )


i totally agree with your first paragraph, but then you try to link "interrogations" to the suicide rate? those are apples and oranges, my friend.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I take it none of the interviews with the accused were videotaped? How much more evidence do we need before the police are forced to record all interactions with suspects? Time and again the endemic corruption in the "justice" system is exposed, yet nothing is done apart from issuing an expression of "regret" (regret at begin caught out, not at their behaviour).

All confessions which are not backed up by videotaped evidence of all interviews should be inadmissible as evidence. If videotapes are "lost" the confession is void.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

just like that nepalese guy, where they forced a confession that he murdered a lady and then 10 years later the DNA clears him. Why dont these cops use proper forensic and investigative technics rather than relying on bullying the subject to confess. Maybe its to hide the fact they dont have any experts in this field. I'm sure the their top guy in computer crime is still using his commodore 64 playing frogger.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I would love to watch an interview. How do they make someone confess?

How is the food in jail?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Resurfaced, Japan_cynic and lucabrasi I sympathise with Resurfaced, partly because I love the safety I enjoy here, but as Japan_cynic, lucabrasi and others say...that two out of four (!) innocent people confessed, i.e. were forced to confess, is scary and damning indeed. I do not approve of what the hacker did and the suffering he caused for the victims but it was like the hacker performed an experiment on Japanese policing and the result was,fail.

Conclusion. Japanese policing appears to be failing the Japanese.

I don't want to slander anyone but is there no way that this this "experiment" was rigged? The data (2 out of 4 !!) seems too good (bad) to be true.

@Blendover What would it take to make you do that if you were completely innocent? If it were me, it would have to be pretty heavy duty stuff.

Good point. Are we stronger or would we cave in too?

It also somewhat points to the conclusion that the Japanese are "obedient"(in the Stanely Milligram electric shock experiment sense) and do what they are ordered to do even though they know it is wrong.

@buggerlugs I'd confess if I were going to loose my eyesight.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Two of the suspects reportedly admitted sending the emails

Two out of four. That's an interesting statistic. Admittedly the sample size is very small, but if the same pattern holds true then up to 50% of people in Japanese prisons may be completely innocent.

I think the NPA chief should step down and the next person put reforms in place to ensure that this system is abolished. It is clearly and obviously producing false positives.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

These experts will soon start arresting us for downloaded pop songs, with the same precision... So if you own a computer and sometimes get it connected to internet, you risk being jailed. Nearly everybody is concerned. You have your earthquake bag ready ? You also need a jail kit. In my case, that's the same as the disaster backpack as if the J-cops come to arrest me, I'll just do like Ichihashi, je prends le maquis (take the French leave, the Corsican leave). I'd reappear after my lawyer clear my case, or never under that avatar.

Two of the suspects reportedly admitted sending the emails before a broadcaster and a lawyer received an anonymous message containing information investigators conceded could only have been known by the real culprit.

It seems they can put words in your mouth easily, so not being there prevents it. If you are less adventurous, here is my father's advice to his business relations facing prosecution (usually entrepreneurs suspected -not always wrongly- of porkbellying politicians) : wear loafers or anyway flat shoes, warm clothes that don't need ironing and won't lose shape if you sleep in them, pants that fit without belts, suspenders or pins, have enough cash, bills and change, your lawyer's number (give him the list of all the others that need to be called), several days of medication if needed, the box for your contact lenses or false teeth, wear no make-up... As when you get arrested, cops tend to take away the shoe laces, belts, even high heel shoes, anything you might hang yourself or hurt someone with with, and they may keep you in some chilly fridge before you can meet a judge, and even do a perp walk in front of media, so you don't want to arrive losing your shoes, scruffy, with pants that fall to your knees, red eyes, with a cold... There can be another delay before transfer to jail. But keep faith in justice...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“If it is found to be so, we will take appropriate action, including issuing apologies to those who were wrongly arrested,”

Wrong. The "appropriate action" would be for the police in Japan to finally start doing their jobs and conduct actual police work, rather than rely on forced confessions. Japan is still third-world in many regards, and this is a prime example. As this case illustrates cyber crime requires real smarts to track and solve, not simply using Draconian measures to beat-down "likely" suspects.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

money is a great form of apology !!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )


-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites