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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 February 26 - March 3  > Gov't uses even prewar law to control prosecutors as it wants
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2020 February 26 - March 3 [POLITICS]

Gov't uses even prewar law to control prosecutors as it wants

February 27, 2020
The Abe Cabinet, in order to install a pro-government chief of Tokyo prosecutors as the Public Prosecutor General, has brought forward even a prewar law to accomplish this.

Japanese Communist Party representative Fujino Yasufumi in a Lower House Budget Committee meeting on February 26 grilled the Cabinet regarding the extension of the mandatory retirement age of incumbent Superintending Prosecutor of the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office, Kurokawa Hiromu. The Cabinet in late January, by reinterpreting the retirement rule set under the National Public Service Act, decided to extend Kurokawa's required age of retirement.

Unlike other government officials, the mandatory retirement age for prosecutors is set by the Public Prosecutor's Office Act (65 years old for the public prosecutor general and 63 for public prosecutors). Based upon a reflection of Japan's prewar history, this law was made to enable the sake of separation of powers between the administrative, legislative, and judiciary branches of government.

JCP Fujino in the committee meeting criticized the Justice Ministry for resorting to using the former Act of the Constitution of Court which provided for the prosecutors' retirement age under the prewar Constitution of the Empire of Japan. The ministry took advantage of this old law to justify that the National Public Service Act is applicable to public prosecutors and that it is possible to extend public prosecutors' mandatory retirement age. Fujino pointed out that the former Act of the Constitution of Court was a law established under the extremely outdated and abnormal legal structure where the concept of separation of powers did not exist.

Quoting the statements made in the Diet by a former Minister of State and a former Minister of Justice, Fujino explained that many unjust crackdowns and human rights violations occurred in the course of criminal proceedings before and during the war and that the postwar Constitution, reflecting on these miscarriages of justice, stipulates the protection of basic human rights as well as the independence of the judiciary. Therefore, Fujino said, there are laws pertinent to criminal suits and prosecution separate from the Court Act.

He demanded the withdrawal of the Cabinet decision to extend Kurokawa's retirement age.

Kurokawa is 63 years of age now and has little experience as an on-site prosecutor. He mainly worked for the Justice Ministry. In the Abe regime, he assumed the post of deputy vice minister and administrative vice minister of justice. It has been suspected that the Cabinet may want the pro-government Kurokawa to be the next Public Prosecutor General so as to make decisions in favor of the Abe government.

Past related article:
> Abe Cabinet decision supposedly seeks to exert political influence over prosecution officers [May 18, 2015]
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