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HOME  > Past issues  > 2015 December 2 - 8  > Police interrogations should be fully videotaped: JCP Shimizu
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2015 December 2 - 8 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Police interrogations should be fully videotaped: JCP Shimizu

December 5, 2015
Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Shimizu Tadashi on December 4 demanded, at a Lower House Committee on Judicial Affairs meeting held during the recess of the Diet, that the whole process of police interrogations be videotaped to prevent false charges.

Shimizu took up a false accusation case in which two persons had been wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years, criticizing the present state of confession-centric police investigations.

The case he cited as an example occurred in 1995: A woman and her common-law husband in Osaka were arrested on suspicion of arson and murder to obtain insurance money. They were sentenced to life imprisonment in 2006. The two were released in October this year after 20 years in prison on the false charge.

Shimizu pointed out that police officers at that time relentlessly yelled at the woman to force her to confess during the interrogation in violation of relevant laws and that they did not even tell her about the right to remain silent as guaranteed in Article 38 of the Constitution.

At present, law enforcement organs use videotaping of interrogations only in cases subject to the lay judge system, but he said, “In order to eradicate forced confessions and false accusations, audiovisual recordings of the whole process of questionings of all cases are essential.”

Justice Minister Iwaki Mitsuhide in response only said, “We must not give any punishment to innocent persons,” and fingered “insufficient examination of credibility of confessions and evidence” as a factor in false convictions.

Past related article:
> Gov’t-proposed revisions to criminal procedure rules cannot prevent human rights abuses [August 22, 2015]
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