crime

Wrongfully convicted Nepali man asks for apology from the Japanese government

37 Comments

A Nepali man, who was wrongfully convicted of murdering a woman and spent 15 years in a Japanese prison before being released last year, has asked for an official apology from the Japanese government.

On Wednesday in Katmandu, Mainali held a press conference to announce his book about his prison life in Japan, Fuji TV reported. He said the Japanese government should take responsibility for the miscarriage of justice. "The Japanese government should send a high-level official to Katmandu and make an official apology to me and my family."

Mainali was freed and sent back to Nepal last June after his request for a retrial was approved. He was subsequently tried and cleared of murder in his absence by the Tokyo District Court, after a DNA test indicated another man was responsible for killing a woman who worked for Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) by day and as a prostitute by night, in Tokyo in 1997.

No one else has been arrested in connection with the murder.

Mainali said he feels great to be rebuilding his life with his family. Although he asked for an official apology from the Japanese government, Mainali said he remains "undecided" about whether or not he will file a lawsuit for damages.

His lawyer in Japan has already filed a request for compensation, seeking some 68 million yen for the 15 years he was incarcerated.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
Login to comment

He should get an apology and a whole lot more!

32 ( +33 / -2 )

This is precisely what capital punishment is for, so that the government never has to apologize for mistakes it makes because the "guilty" party has already been executed. Of course the justice system is perfect and there's no such thing as a wrongful conviction so an apology would never be needed, except in a case like this. Oh wait a minute. Damn...

13 ( +16 / -3 )

The fact that he had to ask for one in the first place is absolutely disgusting. The prosecutors should also be held accountable for deliberately withholding vital evidence. The system here is not much better than China's.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Won't get it.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

The Japanese government is at it with 'mokusatsu' (death by silence) again. With what good reason do they think it'll work this time?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The Japanese government did not convict him. The bone-headed prosecutors who ignored and bent evidence to fit reality to their stereotype owe him one, and then some.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

In a country where apologies are so important, I'm shocked to see that nothing has been done. Shame on the justice system which falls under the government, so yes, the government should apologize and someone should lose their job over this. Apology plus lots of compensatory money is in order.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

I dont think he will get any apology. But if he does Im sure it will have the word "regrettable" in there somewhere.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The Japanese government did not convict him. The bone-headed prosecutors who ignored and bent evidence to fit reality to their stereotype owe him one, and then some.

As Tom DeMicke points out, public prosecutors are representatives of the gov't. The Japanese gov't owes him an apology and a hell of a lot of compensation

6 ( +9 / -3 )

The prosecutors who withheld the evidence are absolute villains. Not only must they have known that he was innocent, they were happy to let the real killer get away with it. There's an almost inhuman lack of compassion there.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

68M yen? That is nothing for what he went through. That is only employment insurance for the time in jail. What about pain and suffering.

And has the Gov. not yet given an apology? If not that is just sad and sick.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

hoserfellaMay. 23, 2013 - 07:59PM JST

The Japanese government did not convict him. The bone-headed prosecutors who ignored and bent evidence to fit reality to their stereotype owe him one, and then some. As Tom DeMicke points out, public prosecutors are representatives of the gov't. The Japanese gov't owes him an apology and a hell of a lot of compensation

Hold on for a second. Who exactly is being punished then? Not the public prosecutor. Nope, its the tax payers.

I agree that we all share some collective responsibility for this, but most of it is on the public prosecutor. First seize all the public prosecutor's assets and recover as much of the 68 million yen as possible from him. Then charge and try the public prosecutor for miscarriage of justice and throw him in prison. After that's happened hit the tax-paying public up for the difference... but first get as much as possible from the bent public prosecutor who was collecting a salary from the taxpayers all those years and not doing his job properly.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

A country of apologies, yes, but it is only for Japanese, not for foreigners. It is also the country of "Yurusenai" or unforgiveness. He should contact Hollywood and Bollywood and see if they can make a movie.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

the prosecutors and jurors, and probably even his defense lawyer are racist

4 ( +4 / -0 )

So here's an Asian country (Nepal) that was never invaded or occupied by Japan in the past and that has been the recipient of large amounts of foreign aid from Tokyo--and the Japanese government may throw away that whole reservoir of potential goodwill if it doesn't apologize to Mr. Mainali. I'm sure Nepali people are following this story closely.

Many Nepalis wash dishes and do other menial work in Japan while often living in undignified conditions. Their community as a whole deserves to hear a mea culpa from the Japanese government.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

People make mistakes, even public prosecutors, but robbing a man of 15 years of his life is a very, very serious offense and the guilty should be held responsible. Silence here breeds distrust of the government. Domestically and abroad.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good luck with that one.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese government did not convict him. The bone-headed prosecutors who ignored and bent evidence to fit reality to their stereotype owe him one, and then some.

What was the title of the original case? I have yet to see one that reads: Prosecutors vs. the Accused. It's usually "the People." It's the government that puts the prosecutors in place and reviews their work.

So you've gotten it completely wrong yet again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Silence here breeds distrust of the government. Domestically and abroad.

Exactly. Someone in government has to rise and take responsibility for its lousy, corrupt prosecutorial function.

A society that can't do that is just begging for lousy, corrupt, abusive prosecutors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's the points system here makes for wrong prosecutions. 97% conviction rate so even if your innocent good luck proving it. Then there's the room with the 24 hour lights so u have to admit to whatever even if you didn't do it. Torture by any other name - that's why Japanese just bow and sorry for everything even if you ran into them on your bicycle........

5 ( +5 / -0 )

68 million Y dont sound like much to me... For what he went thru, I mean.

Why doesn't the article mention his book title?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He should get an apology AND compensation AND the prosecutor should be prosecuted.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is why Japan has one of the highest conviction rate in the world. This happens very frequently in Japan, and its called false confession after long brutal interrogation. If J-Police decide you are guilty and then lie under oath, without exculpatory evidence and do in effect whatever it takes to get an indictment or a conviction regardless of your guilt or innocence. Prosecuting attorneys should be sued also because they know this happens but do nothing about because they have to work with the police. If officers were rightfully charged with perjury when they lie under oath this would stop but no one does anything about it in Japan.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why doesn't the article mention his book title?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Yasuko_Watanabe

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First seize all the public prosecutor's assets and recover as much of the 68 million yen as possible from him. Then charge and try the public prosecutor for miscarriage of justice and throw him in prison.

Go down the line a bit farther first, it's the police who started the mess. It's their decision to pass the alleged perp along to the public prosecutors office for charges. The prosecutor's office in collaboration with the cops decide then on whether or not to go to trial based upon the evidence that the police have provided, including any confessions.

There is plenty of blame to be passed around.

Sadly however, and as typical, everyone here just wants to sweep it under the rug.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The system here is not much better than China's.

300 in the US have been exonerated by DNA testing.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To be honest I don't think it is possible to get the legal system to apologize regardless of what country. The judge, the prosecuting attorney and the police are never going to admit that they made a mistake, particularly if they benefited from conviction politically or got a promotion because of it. That is turn here in the United States as well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

To be honest I don't think it is possible to get the legal system to apologize regardless of what country. The judge, the prosecuting attorney and the police are never going to admit that they made a mistake,

I wonder who from the government he wants an official apology from? (From the Innocence Project)

Is this apology considered "unofficial"? This is in no way a comment against this man, he was wronged and deserves compensation beyond what is typically given by Japanese courts in damages as there is no way that they can give back to him and his family the time they have taken.

Maybe those at fault should spend the same 15 years in prison contemplating the errors of their ways, and maybe that would be justice. However from everything I have seen from this man on TV and read about him in the newspapers he does not come across as vindictive.

He is seeking recognition for the suffering he went through.

Japanese Justice Minister Makoto Taki apologized for the wrongful incarceration Govinda Prasad Mainali, a Nepalese man who was exonerated this week after serving 15 years for a murder conviction overturned by DNA evidence.

http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/From_the_Wrongful_Convictions_Blog_International_Innocence_Roundup_November_19_2012.php

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"I was drunk when I sent him to jail, it was regretable" is what the guy that put him behind bars excuse would be.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Japanese criminal "justice" system needs a complete overhaul... The citizens must stand up against this highly corrupt and institutionalized mess. The prosecutors and the judges team up to arbitrarily decide the prosecuted "guilty", because apparently the prosecutors getting it wrong is "shameful" and is a "loss of face". Even after losing, the prosecutors will do what ever they can to "right the wrong and restore the dignity" of the infallible prosecutors.

It is not exactly known how many are actually sent to the death row and executed since the system does not even reveal all of them. Who knows if one of them will be arrested, tortured, forced to confess and sent to the death row just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time? It has happened to many people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sorry if there is any confusion in my prior post, the (From the Innocence Project) was a reference to the quote at the bottom of the post and included link, the rest are my own comments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese criminal "justice" system needs a complete overhaul... The citizens must stand up against this highly corrupt and institutionalized mess.

While I agree, the sad part is, and I've had the opportunity to talk about this very subject with friends of mine, is that most people really don't care, because they never worry about they themselves ever being stuck in a position where they could be accused of doing something wrong or against the law.

Social activism regarding issues like this is not a priority for many and in this case I have also very coldly heard one person state and I quote here: "If he hadn't been here, he would never have been accused, caught, and sent to jail. He shouldn't have been in that situation in the first place, besides the fact that he had over-stayed his visa. Why should Japan pay anything to him in the first place? "

With thinking like that, and while I hope that was a minority opinion, who needs enemies?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wow, 15 years of his life just got wasted.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Not only it was 15 years now but as recent as last year this had been brought up even by JT and other news media around the world. What's wrong with this Abe government for making a sincere apology to this poor soul for the hugely miscarriage and to also compensate him for all these lost 15 years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've had the opportunity to talk about this very subject with friends of mine, is that most people really don't care, because they never worry about they themselves ever being stuck in a position where they could be accused of doing something wrong or against the law.

Until they are caught in the wrong place at the wrong time... and it becomes expedient to prosecute them rather than pursue the investigation further. Then I bet they'll care.

This situation is horrific, but I doubt it's unique. You gotta wonder: how many people are stuck in prisons wrongfully in this country?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

thanks, keika, I only noticed your reply now

but the wiki link only mentions books by other authors, not the victim's book

I'll just search on my own...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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