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Amnesty Int'l criticizes Japan in 2014/15 human rights report

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Amnesty International has criticized Japan in its report on the state of the world's human rights in 2014/15.

In the report released on Tuesday, Amnesty said the "daiyo kangoku" system, which allows police to detain suspects for up to 23 days without charging them, continued to facilitate torture and other ill-treatment in order to extract confessions during interrogation. "No steps were taken to abolish or reform the system to bring it into line with international standards," the report said.

Japan also came in for criticism over the death penalty. "Executions continued in Japan, the report said. "In March, a court ordered a retrial and the immediate release of Hakamada Iwao. Hakamada Iwao had been sentenced to death in 1968 after an unfair trial on the basis of a forced confession, and was the longest-serving death row inmate in the world."

Amnesty said the Japanese government failed to speak out against discriminatory rhetoric, or curb the use of racially pejorative terms and harassment against ethnic Koreans and their descendants, who are commonly referred to as Zainichi (literally “residing in Japan”). In December, the Supreme Court ruled to ban the group Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai from using racially pejorative terms against Koreans, while holding public demonstrations near an ethnic Korean elementary school.

On the subject of Japan's use of sex slaves prior to and during World War II, the report said the results were made public of a government-appointed study which re-examined the drafting process of the Kono Statement (a government apology made two decades earlier to the survivors of the sex slave system.

"Several high-profile public figures made statements to deny or justify the system," the report said. "The government continued to refuse to officially use the term 'sexual slavery,' and to deny effective reparation to its survivors."

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Human rights in Japan are going to get worse before better. Food for thought.

http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-02-20/japan-s-constitutional-change-is-move-toward-autocracy

22 ( +26 / -4 )

Soft target.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

In the report released on Tuesday, Amnesty said the “daiyo kangoku” system, which allows police to detain suspects for up to 23 days without charging them,

"Daiyo kangoku" has nothing to do with detention for 23 days. To detain a suspect for 23 days, the police must get arrest warrant from the court before the arrest which is good for the first 3 days. Then the police need to get permission of detention for the next 10 days from the court before the arrest warrant expires. Then the police need to get permission of detention for the further 10 days from the court before the first detention warrant expires. The suspect and his lawyer may appear before the court and argue when the court considers issuing of detention warrant. The suspect and his lawyer can also challenge the arrest warrant before the court. There are exceptions for the first 3 days, but any detention longer than that is under the authority of the court.

"Daiyo kangoku" is a jail attached to a police station. "Kangoku" is a jail attached to a prison which is under control of Ministry of Justice. The argument among lawyers is that Kangoku is better for the suspect than Daiyo kangoku. Maybe, they are correct. But I think the issue is quite minor.

This is one of the reasons that Japanese do not take Amnesty International seriously.

-27 ( +8 / -35 )

CH3CHO - how often do the courts order someone released? Experience tells me that the courts would grant (almost) every request made by the police.

20 ( +23 / -3 )

The problem is that Japan doesn't care

31 ( +32 / -2 )

StewartFeb. 25, 2015 - 04:06PM JST

I think your point is quite valid.

Statistics show court turned down 58 out of 102,076 requests for arrest warrant and 2,308 out of 116,181 requests for detention warrant. http://www.courts.go.jp/app/files/toukei/409/007409.pdf

I think the blame is on the court rather than the police or Daiyo Kangoku.

-3 ( +12 / -15 )

CH3CHI-

So what's your point? Regardless of where the jail is next to or not next to, regardless if the lawyer and defendant can appear before a judge, the government still has the right to detain someone without a criminal charge for 23 days. During that time, the attorneys are not allowed to be present for interrogations, it's only the "investigators", court appointed translators if needed, and the defendant. There's absolutely no regulation and no one to hold the investigation to be fair. What other countries have such a system? List them and you will be listing several countries that have horrible track records when it comes to human rights.

23 ( +28 / -5 )

Several high-profile public figures made statements to deny or justify the system,” the report said. “The government continued to refuse to officially use the term ‘sexual slavery,’ and to deny effective reparation to its survivors

this latter half of this sentence is baffling to me. how did japan deny this?

from wiki: In negotiations, the South Korean government initially demanded $364 million in compensation for Koreans forced by into labor and military service during the Japanese occupation; $200 per survivor, $1,650 per death and $2,000 per injured person.[92] In the final agreement Tokyo provided an $800 million aid and low-interest loan package over 10 years.[93] In 1994, the Japanese government set up the Asian Women's Fund (AWF) to distribute additional compensation to South Korea, the Philippines, Taiwan, the Netherlands, and Indonesia.[94] Sixty one Korean, 13 Taiwanese, 211 Filipino, and 79 Dutch former comfort women were provided with a signed apology from the then prime minister Tomiichi Murayama, stating "As Prime Minister of Japan, I thus extend anew my most sincere apologies and remorse to all the women who underwent immeasurable and painful experiences and suffered incurable physical and psychological wounds as comfort women."[95][96] However, many former Korean comfort women rejected the compensations because of pressure from a non-government organization known as the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan,

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The court system in Japan needs to change. Innocent until proven guilty. Not guilty until sentenced to prison.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

Most Japanese couldn't care less about any of these complaints. Nothing will change.

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jonnydesuFeb. 25, 2015 - 04:28PM JST

the government still has the right to detain someone without a criminal charge for 23 days.

What do you mean by "criminal charge"? The police must present probable cause of crime before the court to request for the arrest warrant. The court issues arrest warrant only if it finds the probable cause valid.

If you define "criminal charge" as indictment, it is true that it takes up to 23 days between an arrest and formal indictment. But if you define "criminal charge" as presentation of probable cause of a crime before the court, the police have to file the "criminal charge" even before the arrest.

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

This is one of the reasons that Japanese do not take Amnesty International seriously.

It's disappointing that you can write all that, but seemingly not take the time to look up what the report actually says. The full sentence reads: "In Japan, the daiyo kangoku system, which allows police to detain suspects for up to 23 days prior to charge, continued to facilitate torture and other ill-treatment in order to extract confessions during interrogation". The point they are making refers specifically to conditions in daiyo kangoku (or daiyo keijishitsu) where the investigators have direct control over the quality of life of the people who they are investigating. For a long time lawyers and human rights groups have argued this system is wide open to abuses.

The argument among lawyers is that Kangoku is better for the suspect than Daiyo kangoku. Maybe, they are correct. But I think the issue is quite minor.

It isn't minor. It's pivotal to the whole thing. It resolves an enormous conflict of interest.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

They don't need any arrest warrant. If you get caught bringing something illegal into Japan (case) you are in detention (jail) for 20 days automatically, while waiting to see a prosecutor which decides if your crime should go to court...

8 ( +10 / -2 )

What the system is called, and where the jails/prisons are located, are secondary to the conditions inside these facilities, which is what Amnesty International is justly concerned about.

One of the most shameful things about them is that prisoners are typically only allowed to bathe once every five days, and must wear the same unwashed prison clothing for days on end. I cannot think of any sensible reason for this. If the presumption is that these people are guilty of crimes, is not keeping one's body clean an important psychological component of rehabilitation?

Denying human beings (and remember, these people have not yet even been charged with of any crime, let alone been convicted) the right to cleanliness is a form of torture. If the issue is cost, I'm sure any detainee would gladly pay the few coins that soap and water would cost. This is a system that I simply cannot find any justification for. I would like to hear one, if one can be imagined.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Sometimes we expect too much of Japan and forget that democracy, and many of the human rights upheld in Japan were forced on them other directly during American occupation or indirectly via kayatsu. There is not much of a human rights movement in Japan and the culture is not very sympathy towards strangers. Give them time though and progress will be made, just don't hold your breath.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Having been arrested in Japan for defending myself against a group of 4 drunk Chinpira, I can safely say the system is messed up.

Initial police appointed translator was inept, so I made my statements in Japanese. These were subsequently changed before I saw the prosecutor, and because I denied attacking the other party unprovoked - meaning our statements were different - I was detained for a further 10 days. I later found out they were not detained, and the police had no intention of tracking them down to even the playing field.

In our only meeting my court appointed lawyer said that even if I was not guilty, the only option for me was to say I was guilty in order to avoid either deportation or jail time. You are only entitled to 1 meeting with said lawyer, and no telephone calls to the outside. Nobody knew where I was.

Admitting to a different version of 'the truth' got me out with a 400,000 yen fine and a lovely new criminal record. Like a tattoo you don't want - has to be declare whenever I travel internationally. Then the guys who attacked me sued me for damages. Proven guilty in a criminal court and you have no chance in a civil court. Apparently it's a common scam where groups like this use the system to earn some extra cash. They tried for 2m JPY but I threatened to leave Japan giving them nothing - in the end they settled for 150,000 yen.

In Japan you are guilty until proven innocent, and conviction rates post-arrest are over 99%. Essentially, don't be a dumbass like I was and wait for the cops if something happens - they won't care about justice. All they care about is an easy target for prosecution.

29 ( +31 / -2 )

zorkenFeb. 25, 2015 - 05:05PM JST

Japanese do not take Amnesty International seriously, because it does not know the laws and practices in Japan. Every time it says something like

the daiyo kangoku system, which allows police to detain suspects for up to 23 days prior to charge

continued to facilitate torture and other ill-treatment in order to extract confessions during interrogation

people understand who is not telling the truth. Even Japanese lawyers who are eager to protect human rights here distance themselves away from it. It should know honesty, not sensationalism, is best strategy.

xrcFeb. 25, 2015 - 05:22PM JST

They don't need any arrest warrant. If you get caught bringing something illegal into Japan (case) you are in detention (jail) for 20 days automatically,

You are factually incorrect. A flagrant offender who is currently violating laws may be arrested without a warrant. But the arrest is valid for 3 days not 20 days. For further detention, the police need to requset detention warrant from the court by showing the probable cause of a crime.

ThonTaddeoFeb. 25, 2015 - 05:44PM JST

must wear the same unwashed prison clothing for days on end.

Treatment of convicted prisoners and that of detained suspects are different. Suspects do not waer prison clothing.

-20 ( +4 / -24 )

Wow! Is it any wonder the Abe government introduced the secrecy bill? They don't want this truth to get out!

This thing about the 23 day detention only applies to Japanese nationals. One of my 'acquaintances' was held for 30 days without a charge, during which time he was beaten and starved. The cops were not after a confession. He was locked up for being drunk and disorderly and for smoking on the train. After 30 days he was released without any charge at all. He lost his job and his apartment and left Japan.

18 ( +20 / -2 )

You are only entitled to 1 meeting with said lawyer

You got a lazy lawyer. Old one?

-22 ( +3 / -25 )

23 days is better the Guantanamo Bay.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

@Jeremy

If Guantanamo is your standard, you're seriously scraping the bottom of the barrel.

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Prosecutors boast a 99 percent success rate in criminal cases that go to trial.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Joe

Don't see that as a good thing. (Do you?).

I'm sure the rate is 99.9999 per cent in North Korea....

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The truth of the Japanese injustice system is that you can disappear for up to 23 days and are only released if you agree to pay a huge fine (for minor offences of course) and admit your guilt regardless of whether or not you're guilty. The regular citizen here believes that everyone detained is guilty, so the concept of innocence does not exist. If you are arrested, you are guilty in the eyes of most Japanese. There is not even a phone call to your wife permitted. You can be subjected to "mild torture" and interrogated in unrecorded sessions for up to 23 days before a charge needs to be made, so they have you at their mercy for 23 days In most cases of minor crimes people do what IronBeard did, and just pay up to get out.

This is an absolute disgrace of a justice system and is one of the nasty little dark sides of Japan that most Japanese people know nothing about, and those that do know want to keep hidden from outsiders. The vast majority of its victims are Japanese and I have never heard of a racial slant to this system. It is the same for non-Japanese and Japanese people, although there will be a disadvantage to those with limited language ability as you are not permitted to use any language other than Japanese unless an appointed interpreter is present.

Two great articles about the daiyo kangoku system and its abuses are given below:

http://www.amnesty.or.jp/en/news/2012/0802_3341.html

http://www.amnesty.nl/nieuwsportaal/pers/japan-retrial-highlights-need-judicial-reform

13 ( +17 / -4 )

Ahh, now I get to know why I was in a lockup for 10days basicly for drinking too much and not even starting the brawl some 10ish years ago. Should have been out on sobering, aint it?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Dear IronBeard,

You have all my sympathy for whatever it's worth. Unfortunately, it isn't too difficult to imagine what you described in your post happening to anyone here. However, when you said, "You are only entitled to 1 meeting with said lawyer," you weren't exactly accurate. In my experience you are entitled to 1 meeting with a lawyer before you are prosecuted. But after they formally prosecute you, you can have as many meetings as necessary with your lawyer. That is even if your lawyer is a government-appointed lawyer. I'm not 100% positive about this, but I think I'm right.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

jonnydesuFeb. 25, 2015 - 04:28PM JST

the government still has the right to detain someone without a criminal charge for 23 days. What other countries have such a system?

How about the State of Florida in the United States of America?

http://www.wisemantriallaw.com/articles/aug/2012/what-difference-between-being-charged-and-being-indicted

Once you are arrested on a misdemeanor offense, the prosecutor must charge you within 90 days of your arrest. If a felony, he or she has 175 days to formally file charges against you. In the event charges are not filed timely, the prosecutor will not be able to file charges.

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

There is Japan being down right primitive again, a system I have often said is the envy of many a dictator!

Also if you EVER think the cops are interested in you EVEN if your innocent, get to the airport & fly away!

And if you are ever present in any kind of fight, altercation, ANYTHING, walk away, DO NOT stick around, if you do you WILL LOSE!

IronBeard, I feel for you, I hope you have & continue to cope well, what a nightmare!

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Human rights in Japan are going to get worse before better. Food for thought.

That article from Bloomberg is really rubbish and I'm glad that many people noticed it (in the comments section), making excellent points. I believe you should read the comments more than the article.

Someone wrote he laughed at 'A constitution is just a piece of paper, and not all countries take their constitutions as seriously as the U.S. does.'

I laughed at that one too. And not only at that one.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

@GW There is Japan being down right primitive again, a system I have often said is the envy of many a dictator!

Oh how horrible Japan is.. yet you prefer to remain in Japan regardless of the great "freedom of will" that whinging gaijin always claim is the distinguishing factor of "us". Sounds like a whinging troll with his foot in a bucket of sh## complaining about the smell yet not wanting to do anything about it....

-7 ( +7 / -14 )

Treating humans like a dirt without charging or proven guilty for any length of time it's a shame..,

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Good grief, while ISIS genocides end enslaves its way through the Mid East, AI has nothing better to do than to critice..... Japan?!

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Please do take heed to what Ironbeard has to say. CH3HO says nice and cozy things but the reality which I have seen is something altogether different I can tell you from experience that you do not want to mess around with any chimpura or other trouble makers (there are legions) in Japan, even if they come to you (which is usually the case); its not in your favor. Lets just say having been beat, my credit card taken in a club, threatened on the street, etc etc. not once did any official do a thing. Sounds like Ironbeard got the best of the Chimps but in the end they won. Its always a win win for them and a loose for you. Say they got the best of him; would they of been prosecuted? Id be willing to be a large sum they wouldnt. Ive known people who went to jail also like Iron; same story. Do not use violence, or raise your voice because as soon as they see their "loosing" its time to call the police.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Let us compare US procedure with Japanese.

In many states in the US, within 48 hours of an arrest, there is an arraignment, in which the court examines if there is probable cause of a crime to continue the case.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/arraignment-getting-court.html

In Japan, within 3 days of an arrest, prosecuters must file a request for detention before the court by showing there is probable cause of a crime and need for detention.

In many states in the US, within 30 days of the arrest, there is a preliminary hearing, where prosecutors must present probable cause of a crime to continue the case. If approved, in-custody defendants stay in custody.

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/all-about-preliminary-hearings-or-prelims.html

In Japan, prosecutors must indict the suspect within 23 days of the arrest.

I do not see much difference.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

CH3 and other quote the law and like everything is black and white. Sorry, thats that the case, and you should know better. I once saw some young J thugs who had parked their rides in a ginza type street. A policeman came and told them to move it. One young thug started with the slurred bad language typical thug behavior and rolling his forehead towards the policeman. The policemand did nothing and walked briskly away with the thugs laughing. Perhaps there was nothing could be done because of their age or a myriad of excuses that Ive heard. This was J on J. Gaijin on J, enter a whole new dynamic. Situational ethics is alive and well and Ive experienced it, so its black and white for me, unlike what CH3 quotes.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Treatment of convicted prisoners and that of detained suspects are different. Suspects do not waer prison clothing.

What we call the clothing does not matter; what matters is that the detainess cannot bathe

How about the State of Florida in the United States of America?

Now I think you're just trolling. Read the link you provided us with: After the arrest, you will be booked at the police station, ... you will be held in custody pending a court hearing that will be held within 24 hours of your arrest.

Wow! Imagine that happening in Japan! And after that next-day court hearing, you can be bailed out of jail immediately! Sometimes you even get released without bail:

If your crime is not serious, you could be released without bail and on your own recognizance or ROR. If you are in jail and cannot afford bail, the prosecutor has 30 days from your arrest date to file formal charges against you, although on the 33rd day and after notice to the state, you must be released on your own recognizance.

So the Florida system basically presupposes that arrestees can and will be bailed out of jail.

Then during this 90- or 175-day period which you dishonestly try to compare with daiyo kangoku, these arrestees can then, from the freedom of the outside, prepare a defense for their upcoming court date, contact a lawyer, look for exculpatory witnesses, and even get their affairs in order if they know that they're going to be found guilty.

And they get to bathe and change clothes as often as they like.

I'd prefer a 175-day investigation period in which I am on the outside on bail, communicating with family, working to earn money at my job, eating well, sleeping in my own bed, and preparing my defense, to a 23-day period in which I am locked in a cell, undergoing daily questioning, filthy, and unable to communicate with the outside world except in limited circumstances. How you can possibly equate these baffles me.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

CH3CHO- The difference is in Florida, after the arrest, they won't detain you for 23 days without some kind of criminal charges being brought up. In Japan, they take such liberties with the idea of "probable cause". Anything to them applies, in order to get a person isolated and alone. During which time they do their very best to either force a confession or trick the person into signing something admitting to something they didn't really do. I am speaking from personal experience in, not hearsay. Something was sent to me without my knowledge. I hadn't requested it, wasn't expecting it. When they came to my apartment, they had told me that they just wanted me to come with them to the station for some questioning. Upon arrival, I was processed and put in Jail without even knowing what the hell was going on. They took my computer, passport, alien registration card, and my phone. Over the next 3 days they proceeded to lie to me, telling me they had an air tight case against me, complete with a ton of evidence and witnesses. Immediately I asked for my day in court. After 3 days, I was put in front of a judge who claimed that they had to keep me incarcerated because they felt I was a flight risk. They had my passport, they had my bank card, they had my alien registration card. How was I a flight risk? For the next ten days they did their best good cop bad cop routines. Everyday I was brought to the questioning room in full shackles, ankles to wrists. At first I cooperated, answering all their questions. Until I noticed their traps, asking questions like "Is this the first time you have committed a crime like this?"At this point I turned to silence. After 10 days, when it was time to decide to charge or continue investigating, I thought the nightmare would be over. But of course, they said they still wanted to investigate me. Thus another 10 days of the same BS. Even to the last day, when they knew they were going to release me, they put me in front of a prosecutor, who told me that this was such a minor offense that it wouldn't really matter and I should make things easier and just sign a confession. I refused, and they prosecutor said she would have no other choice but to charge me. I was depressed beyond belief. When I got back to the jail, they told me to change back into my regular clothes, gave me all my goods, had me sign some paperwork, and walked me to the front of the station. Without a word, not a sorry or even your free to go, they just turned around and went back in. I was totally confused. Due to this 23 day incarceration, I lost my jobs, lost many contacts, lost a lot of respect in the community. Even though I had done nothing wrong, and was released, I never had a chance to defend myself because of this system. Don't fool yourself with your wannabe legal knowledge. What's written on the books and what happens in practice are two completely different things. I hope you never have to go through this experience yourself., or maybe I do so that you can understand how inhuman this system is.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Ch3 -

point 1 - the democratic world is not america

point 2 - research a little wider re the details in america

point 3 - the current situation in Japan has been criticized by many Japanese esp legal fraternity

point 4 - what is your point?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I remember many people in sites like CNN called Italy "a barbaric country" for Amanda Knox case. While I can't know if she was guilty or not about the murder case, of course, she spent some years in jail because she had lied, blaming an innocent, and this was a fact. We don't know why she lied yet. Anyway in Italy we don't even have death penalty, our legal system is very soft regarding punishments, when in many American states also innocent people can be killed also after they discovered their innocence, just because the bureaucratic procedure can't be stopped anymore. I believe this is horrend, I can't even understand this kind of mentality. But the barbarians were us Italians, as usual. I wonder how much the US know the world outside their borders.

Here someone called Japan "primitive"...are you serious? Why so much arrogance, and why it is so accepted? What do you really learn about other countries cultures and respect of differences, despite to be a multi etnich country?

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

@CH3 and Alex

Agreed, the US has a myriad of problems, but your comparing apples and oranges. The Feds have left it up to the States in many cases on how to enforce their laws and each state has a different history economic situation racial make up etc. You also have self defense laws and a host of other things unapplicable in Japan. Japan is something altogether different. I have personally never been harassed by the J police, but Ive seen it happen . I think what Iron and others are saying is that before you step off into something, best know beforehand the outcome may not be fair. The culure is quite different; yelling and long drawn out childish arguements are acceptable if in the end some compromise is made (consensus) where in other cultures its more straight forward resolution and the whinning and yelling is seen as immaturity and weakness. In Japan a quick react and then you regret. Best not to touch it walk away from it or do like many Japanese; remain stoic. The troublemakers get a rise out of an easy target.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

ThonTaddeoFeb. 25, 2015 - 09:27PM JST

What we call the clothing does not matter; what matters is that the detainess cannot bathe

You were not correct with regard to the clothing. Can I believe you are correct with regard to bathing?

Wow! Imagine that happening in Japan! And after that next-day court hearing, you can be bailed out of jail immediately! Sometimes you even get released without bail:

In Japan, an arrest warrant is valid only for 3 days, and there is a court hearing on further detention. If the court turns down the detention, the suspect gets out of jail without paying bail. So, it is 24 hours vs 3 days.

Also, Florida court may deny bail. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/07/florida-bail-retired-cop-cinema-texting-shooting

If bail is denied, it is 30 days before charge in Florida vs 23 days in Japan.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

On the subject of Japan’s use of sex slaves prior to and during World War II, the report said the results were made public of a government-appointed study which re-examined the drafting process of the Kono Statement (a government apology made two decades earlier to the survivors of the sex slave system.

So... Amnesty International is now criticizing countries in the current year for actions in previous years? I was unaware they were a historical entity. Up until just now I was under the impression they dealt with human rights issues that currently exist. My eyes have been opened!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I do not see much difference.

CH3CHO -- Nice try, but you have deliberately twisted the basic concept of the two hearings:

In many states in the US, within 48 hours of an arrest, there is an arraignment, in which the court examines if there is probable cause of a crime to continue the case.

In Japan, within 3 days of an arrest, prosecuters must file a request for detention before the court by showing there is probable cause of a crime and need for detention.

At an arraignment the prosecutor must present compelling evidence that there is "probable cause" not only that there was a crime, but that the defendant committed the crime. Meaning there is probable cause for an actual case against the defendant, which means CHARGES MUST BE BROUGHT AT THAT TIME, or the defendant released. So, police basically only have 3 days/72 hours to develop evidence. Japan, on the other hand, which you full well know, allows people to be detained simply by stating that there was probable cause for a crime, and that they need to detain the suspect while they do further investigation. NO ACTUAL CHARGES MUST BE BROUGHT. And the continued detention can be approved based on nothing more than suspicion.

To compare the Japanese system, and the U.S. system in this manner is a joke -- and you know it.

Sorry, but you can't defend the Japanese justice system with semantics. The reality is that a justice system reflects the values of the culture, and, in the case of Japan, that means its system reflects the people's obsession with safety and maintaining the all-sacred Wa. (Plus xenophobia, but that's a separate issue.) So if the rights of a few people get trambled on in the process, so be it.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

@CH3CHOFEB. 25, 2015 - 07:34PM JST jonnydesuFeb. 25, 2015 - 04:28PM JST

the government still has the right to detain someone without a criminal charge for 23 days. What other countries have such a system?

How about the State of Florida in the United States of America?

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

@Ch3: You omitted too many, How about CA, AR,NV? In NV, snitches are detained longer. FBI used to detain some criminals and gave Fed Protection luxury living.

But you can not compare Japanese system and USA system, They are different countries. In Japan, guilty until proven innocent, In USA, innocent untile proven guilty. In Japanm cops do not shoot freeimg cro,inals. In USA. cops often shoot. including innocent citizens,

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Bathing = we were allowed to bathe once every 5 days in a communal tub. Let's just say your head gets itchy. Everyone was friendly enough - just felt like an onsen.

Lawyer = I was told that I was only allowed to see them once and after that it would cost me 300,000 initial consultation fee plus any hours worked after that to hire my own private lawyer if I wanted to fight the charges. The lawyer was about 30 and female, though I don't think that's really of relevance.

'Interrogation' = none as such, but repeated repetitive questioning over the course of several days. The detective responsible for my case actually told me he thought I was probably telling the truth, but also said that it didn't matter what he thought - it's what the prosecutors thought. And they don't even speak to you before making their decision.

Hindsight = I wish I had known about the Japanese legal system before being subject to it. Unfortunately I could only enlighten myself after I was released as they obviously don't give you that kind of reading material when you are there. I still think that nothing would have been different even if I'd known the system though. It is built in such a manner as to be impossible to fight.

Language = I was near JLPT L1 and all it meant was that I spotted the shoddy translation and corrected it accordingly. Japanese people will be treated exactly the same as foreigners once they are 'on the inside'. And yes - in the eyes most of (not all) of the public, 'why would the police ever arrest an innocent person?'. Easy to say until it happens to you I'm sure. Then again 85% of the public are apparently pro-death-penatly. Barbarism effectively hidden from view by social etiquette.

I met some Japanese guys who had been in the detention cells for 4 months awaiting trial. Their prison sentence would begin after that. How the system got away with 4 months rather than just 25 days I can't say... but there were a lot of people who had been detained without charges for longer than they were supposed to be.

Anyhow. Water under the bridge. Lessons learned and what have you.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

The fundamental problem is the the guilty until proven innocent aspect of the law here. Got an alibi? Well, we don't wanna hear it! Guilty guilty guilty!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In the USA, people always say things like, "wow, you often travel to Japan? You can speak japanese. It must be nice there, their culture is fascinating etc. etc. - Oh by the way, I heard they have a LOW CRIME RATE. . . "

Let Japan boast of its low crime. We all know ( as well as Amnesty Int.) that Japanese can be most injust @ times.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

'3 days' = they have to put you in front of a prosecutor after 3 days. The prosecutor will either prosecute then and there if you have pleaded guilty, or agree with their petition for more time to get 'evidence'. 10 days and 10 days more. A confession counts as evidence in Japan.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

browny1Feb. 25, 2015 - 09:31PM JST

Ch3 -

point 4 - what is your point?

My point is in my first 2 comments to this article. It is Japanese court rather than Japanese police that detains suspects for 23 days. Amnesty International is wrong in saying as if Daiyo Kangoku enabled police to detain suspects. It is the court that is to blame for issuing arrest and detention warrant too easily.

jerseyboyFeb. 25, 2015 - 10:41PM JST

Code of Criminal Procedure (of Japan)

Article 199 Paragraph2

In cases where a judge deems that there exists sufficient probable cause to suspect that the suspect has committed an offense, he/she shall issue the arrest warrant set forth in the preceding paragraph, upon the request of a public prosecutor or a judicial police officer

On the other hand, the definition of probable cause in the US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Probable_cause

United States A common definition is "a reasonable amount of suspicion, supported by circumstances sufficiently strong to justify a prudent and cautious person's belief that certain facts are probably true".

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

In cases where a judge deems that there exists sufficient probable cause to suspect that the suspect has committed an offense, he/she shall issue the arrest warrant set forth in the preceding paragraph, upon the request of a public prosecutor or a judicial police officer

CH3CHO -- please stop playing semantics. Yes, the definitions of probable cause are similar. So what? In Japan, the prosecutor does NOT need to show that this probable cause exists at the 3-day hearing. In the U.S. they do.

Defenders of the current system argue that under generally conservative prefectural policies, extraordinary proof must be obtained before an arrest can be made. Japanese prosecutors require beyond-reasonable-doubt proof for indictments, and often require a confession[citation needed]. Advocates of the daiyō kangoku system argue that this culture of restraint among the authorities merits and even requires the ability to place uncharged suspects in prolonged detention.

During an interview in the daiyō kangoku, the suspect has the rights, under the Constitution, to counsel and to remain silent[citation needed]. But under the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Code of Criminal Procedure, suspects cannot end the interview—which is to say, the suspect cannot choose to leave the daiyō kangoku until the interview is concluded. Japanese human rights and civil liberties advocates usually criticize this interpretation as offering the accused too few rights in daiyō kangoku.

The fact is, which you seem to want to pretend you don't understand, is that keeping folks up to 23 days is supposedly needed in Japan to meet the probable cause standard. That is the exact opposite of the situation in the U.S.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Don't break the law! Obey the Rules!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

So is this "Amesty International"active in China? Are they doing anything about "hate-speech" in South Korea? Or do they only criticize countries that they know won't give them any resistance?

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

So is this "Amesty International"active in China? Are they doing anything about "hate-speech" in South Korea? Or do they only criticize countries that they know won't give them any resistance?

Pitiful on so many levels. To start, the answer to both your questions is "Yes", which you would have known if you had taken even 30 seconds to go on Google. But, more importantly, it falls into the convenient trap that Japan's short comings can simply be ignored, because other countries have problems as well. But, then again, shouldn't really expect more, given the source.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

So is this "Amesty International"active in China? Are they doing anything about "hate-speech" in South Korea?

I have no knowledge of any South Koreans engaging publicly in hate speech, at least not to the same extent as the Japanese protests in Tokyo, Osaka, and other cities, calling for deaths of cockroach Koreans.

But I do know that Amnesty International heavily criticizes what is called South Korea's national security law which forbids anyone from praising North Korea, writing sympathetic things for North Korea. Recently, people have been arrested or harassed for praising or sympathizing with North Korea, because South Korea's last two Conservative governments were paranoid about North Korean agitators in South Korea. Amnesty International says this is against freedom of speech. It's one of the big reasons why South Korea's press freedom ranking has steadily slid down from ten years ago, and is bad, almost as bad as Japan's, but rated not yet quite as bad. But to answer your question, a big fat yes, Amnesty International criticizes everybody, and they're not just picking on poor victimized Japan to make them look bad in front of the world. Japanese do that to themselves quite very well.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Death sentence and executions in USA. Some states have, some do not have. Awfully quick to execute. Lethal Inhdection. No choping head or roping neck,

In USA. every criminal has right. In any court they are tried, they can refuse to answer by saying "I refuse to answer because answering might incriminate me ...." You might not berlieve but there was a criminal who said this 95 times. Another guy 65 times. OJ Simpson did not and he was sentenced. So, stop comparing Japanese justice System to USA.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The prlb,em with Amnesty intl is they're strong when it comes to criticizes the Occident (Japan, USA, Canada, France..), but when it comes to the real deal they're quiet.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Alec SavardFEB. 26, 2015 - 05:01AM JST The prlb,em with Amnesty intl is they're strong when it comes to criticizes the Occident (Japan, USA, Canada, France..), but when it comes to the real deal they're quiet.

===========================================================

Well said. Maybe it needs more donation?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'll simply state this: EVERY nation, EVERY area of the world has its warts. Further, I think no amount of "improvement" would satisfy Amnesty International.........

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Oh this is outrageous ... I imagine all those Iraq and Syrian kids living under ISIS rule thinking what horrible place Japan must be to live. keeping suspected criminals in jail for long enough to be sure if they are guilty. Allowing freedom of speech(freedom of speech is freedom of speech regardless if it's discriminatory). Not apologising every single day for war crimes committed by a previous generation. And the death penalty for criminals. I bet they're hanging every Parking offender and petty criminal all over Japan every day. not part of the report but it's the soap and water comment that tops the cake. What sort of country would deny murderers and rapists a wash for a few days.. Absolutely outrageous..

1 ( +3 / -3 )

@Hotmail

I have no knowledge of any South Koreans engaging publicly in hate speech

Let us all take our 2 seconds and do a Google Image Search for "south korean anti-japan demonstration."

Abe lookalike kowtowed and decapitated by an axe, Japan flag burned, Japanese car splashed with cow blood...

Thoughts? At least they have free speech, good.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Free speech is free speech. There's no half free speech. Either allow it or remove it. There will be complaints either way. That's why all governments are on a hiding to nothing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Readers, please keep the discussion focused on Amnesty's comments about Japan and not other countries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Daiyo means substitution. Kangoku is jail amd prison - harsh prison for sentenced inmates. Jails are called roya. I see why Amnesty officials criticize this kind of system. Innocent people can be hekd in daiyo kangiku as Japan is the country of guilty ybtuk proven innocent.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gosh I care. I am so in love with the legal system and low rate of crime in Japan. I can hardly feel safe walking around during the day let alone at night in my hometown (London). Amnesty internation says that Japan should come into line with "International Standards." As CH3 has demonstrated, Japan is already in line with the US. But perhaps the US is outlier among Western countries (which is what "international standards" often means). In Korea http://www.unafei.or.jp/english/pdf/RS_No60/No60_11VE_Kim.pdf When the police detain a suspect, the suspect must be released if not transferred to the public prosecutor within 10 days. After the completion of the investigation, the police transfers the suspect to the public prosecutor’s office. The public prosecutor can detain the suspect for 10 days. The 10 days detention in police custody and a further 10 days detention under the public prosecutor are granted by a detention warrant. If more investigation is necessary, the judge can grant detention of an additional 10 days by the public prosecutor’s request.The maximum term of pre-prosecution detention is thus 29 days.

Korea also has very low crime rates (see the above link).

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

west co - the situation in syria / iraq are completely irrelevant in this discussion - strawman supreme.

This articles focus is amnesty's criticism of Japan's human rights recognition esp those of police detainees. The U.N. also has been critical of the same processes, which all indicates that there is more than likely a realistic cause to further analyze, discuss and pursue the truth in seeking justice for those who deserve it.

Japan's detention system is wrought with irregularities and open to abuse. This is not based on hearsay and is well recorded. The Japanese legal world is one of the biggest critics of the Japanese system.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

IronBeard:" I was told that I was only allowed to see them once and after that it would cost me 300,000 initial consultation fee plus any hours worked after that to hire my own private lawyer if I wanted to fight the charges. The lawyer was about 30 and female, though I don't think that's really of relevance."

Court appointed lawyers come to see the suspect at police station as many times as necessary, some even everyday, and after indictment, the lawyers come to see the defendant as often, especially each before trial. Some lazy lawyers who are mostly old may not come so often or if the case is very simple. court appointed lawyers never charge you money. You said it was young lawyer, so there must be some misunderstanding on your part. Young lawyers are generally very sincere and serious because it's very important to do good job for their careers.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

My point is in my first 2 comments to this article. It is Japanese court rather than Japanese police that detains suspects for 23 days. Amnesty International is wrong in saying as if Daiyo Kangoku enabled police to detain suspects. It is the court that is to blame for issuing arrest and detention warrant too easily.

Amnesty international was criticizing the actions in Japan. They may have made mistakes in which parts of the judicial system are doing these actions, but the fact is that Japan is still doing this. As such, Japan deserves criticism on the matter, no matter which branch of the judicial system is doing it. You are focusing on the small points in order to deflect focus from the larger issue.

The overall problem with the Japanese judicial system is that it is set up to prosecute whomever the police decide is guilty, rather than finding the actual guilty party. Too many innocents have been locked up in this country. Amnesty is spot on with their condemnation, and I hope they keep repeating it yearly. Japan should be embarrassed about its judicial system. First world country with a 3rd world judicial system.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The average Japanese doesn't and won't care one bit. This story probably didn't make it on any news shows, but, if it did, they more than likely removed all the critical stuff and gave the rest about thirty seconds of coverage. That's Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

jerseyboyFeb. 26, 2015 - 01:24AM JST

CH3CHO -- please stop playing semantics. Yes, the definitions of probable cause are similar. So what? In Japan, the prosecutor does NOT need to show that this probable cause exists at the 3-day hearing. In the U.S. they do.

I am not playing semantics. I have made it very clear to anyone here that a judge must be convinced of probable cause to issue an arrest or a detention warrant. In other words, the contrary of what you say is true.

Defenders of the current system argue that under generally conservative prefectural policies, extraordinary proof must be obtained before an arrest can be made. Japanese prosecutors require beyond-reasonable-doubt proof for indictments, and often require a confession [citation needed].

Thank you for quoting from wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daiyo_kangoku But the part you quoted has no citation, and is least credible. I do not know of the Supreme Court Ruling in the wiki article. Are you talking about the ruling that a suspect and his lawyer must make an appointment to have a secret meeting between themselves without police or prosecutor presence? http://www.courts.go.jp/app/hanrei_jp/detail2?id=52506 What it says is that a suspect cannot use the right to have a secret meeting at arbitaraly to interrupt an interogation. But this rule applies if the suspect is in Daiyo Kangoku or in Kangoku.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

@timtak

I am so in love with the legal system and low rate of crime in Japan.

I think you are suggesting that Japan's social order and low crime rates are due to the activities of the police and prosecutors. That would be a mistake. Japan is relatively safe because of the concepts of social shame and social obligation that still exist. It's a cultural thing. Because of that, the police have it relatively easy here.

At the same time the police are incarcerating people who should never have been arrested, they are ignoring other habitually violent criminals. Just as the prosecutors are ignoring certain criminals (not in the least white collar criminals who have done extensive damage to the country.)

The first-hand experiences above are chilling, and could happen to anyone (particularly foreigners) in this country. What about those of us who have families to support and protect? A year or two back, I bowed my way out of a traffic dispute with an aggressive man who was most likely "connected." He was completely in the wrong, and I was ready to stand my ground. But I thought of my family and how taking on a yakuza is a no win situation. He could kill me and get off with a slap on the wrist. He might even go after my family for "damages." I could successfully defend myself and find myself in prison for it. My kids would suffer the most. For those reasons, I did the spineless shuffle.

However, one could just as easily encounter trouble with no option to back out. The thought that anyone could send me a package of illegal substances in the mail as an easy way ruin me and my family is frightening.

Be very aware that this lovely place called Japan has a very nasty underbelly. Most of us are lucky enough never to have to deal it. I doubt the police actions described here do anything to make Japan a safer place.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

He was locked up for being drunk and disorderly and for smoking on the train.

In other words, he deserved to get arrested.

After 30 days he was released without any charge at all. He lost his job and his apartment and left Japan.

Help me out here - isn't this a happy ending?

Ironbeard, what were you doing, and where were you, when the chinpira suddenly attacked you?

In 20 years of living here, somehow I've managed to avoid street fighting. (Same goes for back home). I walk through a red-light district here every day, people don't mess with me, I don't mess with them.

I guess you must have been really unlucky.

I'm tired of hearing so many sob stories from gaijin who can't behave themselves and call foul when consequences happen.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

ReformedBasher: I walk through a red-light district here every day, people don't mess with me, I don't mess with them.

Japanese have respect for the elderly!!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I was on the Keikyu Kawasaki train platform waiting for the first train back, slightly drunk. I waited for the police because I believed that everything was being recorded - but it turned out the screens on the platform were just 'monitors' and Keikyu don't record the footage. Pretty unlucky, but I probably should have gone home on the last train the night before...

the main problem here is that a confession counts as evidence. People can be sentenced to death based purely on confession. With the 23 day system and the strong desire of any arresting officer to save face and not been seen as having made a mistaken arrest, confession rates are very high.

I believe that in most countries a confession alone cannot be used to convict someone - same as an eye-witness testimony. Even putting coercion to one side, memories change and are reprogrammed with time. How can that be used as evidence to sentence someone to death?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Ironbeard

I'll agree the justice system here needs work. How much, I don't know as I've yet to be arrested, only minor stuff run-ins so far, and the police have never given me a hard time.

slightly drunk

Assuming this is true, you still haven't answered my question.

Sentenced to death? I'd imagine given the low number of cases that go that far, each execution goes through thorough scrutiny.

Me, I leave the yaks and their wannabes alone. Police too. Don't get me wrong, I've been close to protecting somebody in a very serious situation. Fortunately it was a false alarm and everyone went home. A really good day if you ask me.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I believe that in most countries a confession alone cannot be used to convict someone

In Japan too.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/japan/report-japan/

Justice system

The daiyo kangoku system, which allows police to detain suspects for up to 23 days prior to charge, continued to facilitate torture and other ill-treatment to extract confessions during interrogation.

You see. Amnesty International does not have any professional knowledge in laws in Japan. This is why people in Japan do not take them seriously. Amnesty should see a decent lawyer.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

That article from Bloomberg is really rubbish and I'm glad that many people noticed it (in the comments section), making excellent points. I believe you should read the comments more than the article.

Pray tell, in your uneducated view what is rubbish about it?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

From what I have read here and heard from others the system sounds absolutely disgraceful. Iron beard, did your embassy assist you in any way? I'm sure the western media would have been interested in a story like this.

Before anyone says 'it's the system in Japan..' bare in mind that it does not look good for Japan on the international stage. I think it's high time for Japan to get with the rest of the world on many issues.

Now I see why there is apparently a '99%' conviction rate! Most likely Duress!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The excerpt below is from the U.S. human rights report for Japan in 2013 (2014 will be published soon). The point is that Amnesty may have been incorrect in identifying the police as detaining prisoners for 23 days, the U.S. report makes clear that it is a systemic approach. That actually makes it much worse for Japan.

Excerpt:

Pretrial Detention: Authorities usually held suspects in police-operated detention centers for an initial 72 hours. By law such pre-indictment detention is allowed only where there is probable cause to suspect that a person has committed a crime and is likely to conceal or destroy evidence or flee, but it was used routinely in practice. After interviewing a suspect at the end of the initial 72-hour period, a judge may extend pre-indictment custody by up to two consecutive 10-day periods. Prosecutors routinely sought and received these extensions. Prosecutors may also apply for an additional five-day extension in exceptional cases, such as insurrection, foreign aggression, or violent public assembly. Because judges customarily granted prosecutorial requests for extensions, the system of pretrial detention, known as daiyou kangoku (substitute prison), usually continued for 23 days. Nearly all persons detained during the year were held in daiyou kangoku. Reliable NGOs and foreign diplomats continued to report that pretrial detainees routinely were held incommunicado for up to 23 days before being allowed access to persons other than their attorneys or, in the case of foreign arrestees, consular personnel. Amnesty International urged reforms, such as the introduction of electronic recording of entire interrogations and prohibition of interrogation without the presence of legal counsel.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Isn't it funny sight every time there's someone criticising Japan, there are usual suspects coming out of woodwork to defend Japan fervently. Don't get me wrong, we like Japan but certainly there are areas that Japan can improve on. Just mindlessly liking it means you should perhaps open up your perspective before even debating. Just from this article, I can gather that Japan has such a problem learning from the mistakes. It seems they already forgot about the treatment of Hakamada.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is true that Japan is not a perfect country but Leftist groups like Amnesty International never tire of focusing on things that are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Islamic-inspired terrorism, slavery, and human trafficking are rampant in countries all over the globe yet these people are worried about the state of justice in Japan? There are much bigger targets out there that Amnesty International should be going after.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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