Sunday, May 27, 2007

A sign of change in Japanese interrogations?

Prosecutors asked the court to admit the recording as evidence when the accused changed aspects of his story during testimony.

But even though the prosecutors' move was aimed at bolstering their case, it may also serve as a precedent for those who claim they confessed under coercion to demand that recordings of their interrogations be played in court as well.

The committee demanded the 23-day holding period be shortened to match standards in other countries. And it said interrogations should be monitored by independent observers as well as recorded, so courts can later judge whether confessions may have been obtained through coercion.

Why not?

"We will examine it in a prudent manner and, depending on the content, will respond to it appropriately," said Hiroshi Kikuchi of the ministry's Criminal Affairs Bureau.

This is a typical response of Japanese bureaucracy.

The government has shown little inclination to radically overhaul a system that is defended by police and that attracts little criticism from the Japanese public or media. The U.N. review of the justice system was largely ignored by media here, despite its charge that the Japanese system fails to meet minimal international standards in many

I wonder why the Japanese media do not pick it up.

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