In 2009, welfare official Muraki Atsuko was arrested for allegedly attempting to abuse the postage discount system for the disabled. Muraki was in custody for 163 days, which should be regarded as an infringement on human rights. On 10 September 2010, the Osaka District Court acquitted her after rejecting crucial evidence submitted by the Osaka Special Investigation Squad. As soon as Muraki was acquitted in the case, the subordinate prosecutor Maeda Tsunehiko was arrested because he changed the data on a floppy disk that prosecutors confiscated in the case against Muraki. Later, Maeda’s boss, two prosecutors: chief of the special investigation squad Otsubo Hiromichi and his deputy, Saga Motoaki, were arrested. This incident is just the tip of the iceberg in the Japanese judicial system.
In the Japanese judicial system, only three cities: Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya, have special investigation squads, which have excessively power to prosecute anyone in Japan including current powerful politicians as was the case in the Ozawa Ichiro case. As Japan Times describes, “This partly explains why 99.9 percent of defendants in criminal cases are found guilty and why the process has become a hothouse for generating false charges (26 November 2010).” In Japan, as long as the special investigation squad manages to get a suspect to sign a deposition, courts will find him/her guilty. This unethical and illegal technique used by prosecutors in Japan is prevalent and explains why 99.9 percent of defendants will be found guilty. Japanese judges must stop relying on depositions by the prosecutors so heavily and should follow the law. According to the Japanese Constitution Article 76, “All judges shall be independent in the exercise of their conscience and shall be bound only by this Constitution and the laws.” Ironically, it seems to everyone that judges in Japan do not know the law. How can all defendants get 99.9 % guilty rate unless prosecutors do not cook the book.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
The 99.9% Guilty under the Japanese Judicial System
After growing up and studying in China and Japan, Dr. Suganuma went to the U.S. for graduate studies, earning master’s degrees at both St. John's University (in Chinese studies) and Syracuse University (in international relations) as well as a Ph.D. (in geography) from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University.