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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 May 13 - 19  > Ex-special investigators of Tokyo prosecutors office oppose prosecutor retirement age bill
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2020 May 13 - 19 [POLITICS]

Ex-special investigators of Tokyo prosecutors office oppose prosecutor retirement age bill

May 19, 2020
Thirty-eight former special investigators of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office on May 18 submitted to the Justice Minister a joint statement which criticizes a proposed revision to the prosecutor law to enable the Cabinet to arbitrarily intervene in prosecutors’ personnel affairs.

Regarding a government-proposed bill to revise the Public Prosecutors' Office Act which is designed to authorize the Cabinet to extend the mandatory retirement age of specific high-ranking prosecutors, the joint statement points out that if enacted, the bill will most likely undermine prosecutors’ independence and political neutrality, and erode public trust in the prosecution authority.

Just three days earlier, 14 former prosecutors, including a former Prosecutor General, submitted a written opinion in protest against the bill to the Justice Ministry.

The 38 ex-prosecutors’ joint statement states that although prosecutors are appointed by the Cabinet or the Justice Minister, the existing legal framework guaranteeing prosecutors’ status and personnel practices under which the appointment of prosecutors fully reflects the prosecutors' opinions have helped to maintain prosecution officers’ independence and political neutrality. The statement expresses concern that it is highly likely that the enactment of the bill will lead to political intervention in the exercise of authority by prosecutors.

Furthermore, the statement states that prosecutors are not authorized to continue investigating a case beyond the mandatory retirement age, but this prohibition has never caused a problem in the continuation of investigation efforts. It adds that there is no urgent need to revise the law on prosecutors’ retirement age. The statement urges the government to reconsider the bill.

One of the 38 prosecutors, former head of the Special Investigation Department Kumazaki Katsuhiko, said to the press, “Imagining how other special investigators would feel about the bill, I was unable to just sit back and clearly evaluate the issue. Most former prosecutors I could reach endorsed the statement.”

Past related article:
> Opposition party leaders post video protesting against Cabinet move to meddle with appointment of prosecutors [ May 12, 2020]
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