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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 November 28 - December 4  > Ghosn’s arrest brings Japan’s criminal justice system to attention of foreign media
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2018 November 28 - December 4 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Ghosn’s arrest brings Japan’s criminal justice system to attention of foreign media

November 29, 2018

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations on November 27 held a panel discussion on how Japan’s criminal justice system differs from those of European nations amid growing attention being paid internationally to the arrest of former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn who is presently in custody.

One of the panelists, Professor Emeritus of the University of the West of England Ed Cape, said that in European nations, police officers are prohibited from detaining suspects for questioning for more than 24 hours. He, while comparing his earlier career as a London Metropolitan Police officer, stressed that he was so surprised to learn that in Japan police can hold suspects for up to 23 days without charge.

Cape also said that in Europe, suspects have the right to consult a lawyer before interrogation by law enforcement officers and request a charge-free interpreting service during police questioning if necessary. He explained that these rights were established through the European Convention on Human Rights and judicial precedents acknowledged by the European Court of Human Rights. In Japan, suspects are not allowed to have their lawyers present during police interrogation.

Another panelist, Professor Kuzuno Hiroyuki of Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law Institute for Global Law Research, pointed out that the extraordinarily long detention period in Japan— up to 23 days—effectively exerts pressure on suspects to testify against themselves. He stressed that suspects’ right to remain silence is not sufficiently safeguarded.

Past related articles:
> Police interrogations should be fully videotaped: JCP Shimizu [December 5, 2015]
> Gov’t-proposed revisions to criminal procedure rules cannot prevent human rights abuses [August 22, 2015]
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