That is ...incredibly high. Like China high. Facing those odds I think Mr. Ghosn made the right decision to flee.
That said, there are reportedly very real problems with a) foreigners getting a fair trial and b) confession being forced under duress.
The police can also keep you in jail for months without charging you with anything. This pretty much ends your career and family life.
All of the above has happened to e.g. tourists accused of stealing a single dumpling.
Forced confessions are the bulk of what makes up that 99% conviction rate. Japanese lawyers always advise their clients to produce a confession regardless of the circumstances.
Non-natives are strongly advised to follow the law to the very letter and that they're fucked if ever arrested no matter how insignificant the infringement might first appear - and police will downplay the severity of infringement to make you confess.
The Japanese criminal justice system is only marginally better than Chinese. It's one of the areas where they just failed to advance as a society.
I very much doubt that the police have held someone for months for stealing a dumpling, though.
In addition, for everyone mentioning the 99% conviction rate, it's important to keep the other part of that in mind as well: Japanese prosecutors typically drop ~50% of cases.
> The Japanese criminal justice system is only marginally better than Chinese. It's one of the areas where they just failed to advance as a society.
Commit a crime in both countries and let us know which one lets you keep your kidneys.
I don't doubt there are problems, but this honestly doesn't sound plausible, and Googling I can't find any reference.
I can believe a tourist being (rightly) arrested for stealing something (even if small value), and I can believe people being held in jail for months without being charged in the case of very serious suspected crimes (e.g. large-scale fraud or suspected murder), but I can't find any evidence of the two combined.
You're making it sound like everyone should avoid visiting Japan for tourism at all because you might be incarcerated for months on a misunderstanding... which just doesn't match any of my experience there, or their thriving tourism industry.
As of last year, all interrogations for serious crimes (i.e., trials that will have lay judges) must be audio and video recorded, as well as any interrogations of suspects that might have mental disabilities .
Of course, that doesn't address issues of lengthy imprisonment before charges are filed, but it's a step in the right direction.
Sounds like the problems are deep-rooted & systemic.
>Article 38 of Japan's Constitution categorically requires that "no person shall be convicted or punished in cases where the only proof against a suspect is his/her own confession," In practice, this constitutional requirement takes a form of safeguarding known as the "revelation of secret" (Himitsu no Bakuro, lit. "outing of secret")...
>...for confession to be a valid evidence for conviction, the Japanese court requires confession to include revelation of verifiable factual matter that only the perpetrator of the crime could have known about, such as the location of an undiscovered body or the time and place the murder weapon was purchased, a fact about the crime scene, etc. Furthermore, to safeguard against the possibility that the interrogator has implanted such knowledge into the confession, the prosecutor must prove that such revelation of secret was unknown to the police until the point of confession.
What's the evidence for this claim? Do we have dropped cases rates for Japan versus other countries?
(Reduced incarceration rates are sometimes cited. But that's impossible to separate from reduced criminality, or the legal system's propensity to jail versus punish in other ways.)
>In the U.S., the federal government employs 27,985 lawyers and the states employ another 38,242 (of which 24,700 are state prosecutors). In Japan, with about a third of U.S. population, the entire government employs a mere 2,000. Despite Japan having a low crime rate, such numbers create a significant case overload for prosecutors. In the U.S., there are 480 arrests (96 serious cases) per year per state prosecutor. (The actual figure is lower as some are prosecuted in federal court). In Japan, the figure is 700 per year per prosecutor. In the U.S., a rough estimate is that 42% of arrests in felony cases result in prosecution - while in Japan, the figure is only 17.5%.
>In murder, U.S. police arrested 19,000 people for 26,000 murders, in which 75% were prosecuted and courts convicted 12,000 people. In Japan, 1,800 people were arrested for 1,300 murders, but prosecutors tried only 43%.
Like any number like this, it depends on how you count. But 94% is frequently used.
If you want to play with those numbers yourself, https://www.justice.gov/usao/file/831856/download .
That means the country is arresting and bringing the wrong people to trial.
In an ideal world you're only arresting and convicting people with clear and obvious guilt. That would probably look like a society with very strong individual rights, extremely low (near 0) bias and a high conviction rate.
He was held for a long period of time without external contact, and has in many ways been declared guilty even though evidence is lacking.
Tax evasion is a serious crime, and serious crimes deserve good faith investigation, not just sacrificing the first convenient figure.
"In Japan, the criminal justice system has a conviction rate that exceeds 99%, including guilty plea cases. This has been attributed to low prosecutorial budgets impelling understaffed prosecutors to bring only the most obviously guilty defendants to trial."
> Many confessions are extracted under duress. Some of those who admit guilt are plainly innocent, as recent exonerations have shown
> Common criminal suspects may be held in detention for 23 days without charge. Many have only minimal contact with a lawyer. Few interrogations are recorded, and then not in their entirety, so there is not much to stop interrogators piling in. Physical torture is rare, but sleep deprivation, which is just as effective, is common. So are various other forms of psychological coercion. Some interrogators use moral blackmail (“Think of the shame you are bringing on your family”). A few, if they are convinced that the suspect is guilty, simply fabricate a confession and press the suspect into signing it.
This is as far from "justice" as it can be and puts those numbers in a very shameful light.
Whether the ends justify the means is up for debate but these methods are officially incompatible with most western democracy values (the US being one major exception - Guantanamo) and more in line with authoritarian states.
If you trust prosecutors to not be corrupt, be well trained, and do the right thing - they should be a better place to throw out flimsy cases.
Of course, as others have said, the reality is that prosecutors only go to trial if they have what they view as a guaranteed conviction, and the evidence is typically a confession.
During my travels I was advised to be particularly cautious about treating police courteously and following rules to the letter because getting arrested is a much bigger deal than elsewhere.
High conviction rates aren't inherently bad. Bias and a lack of individual rights are bad (which it sounds like are present here).
In an ideal society though with strong individual rights and little to no bias, a high conviction rate would mean less innocent people getting prosecuted which is a good thing.
Thank God for Japan treating elites the same as the less well-heeled. Western jurisdictions should take note.
Indeed, only a fool would stay, you could literally go to Moscow and pray to be sent to the goulag.
Hanawa was an avant-garde cartoonist who spent time in prison for building and shooting homemade guns (which he did as hobby, not with any larger criminal intentions). He illustrates daily life, abuse by guards, and the stories of his fellow prisoners quite vividly.
There was a video documentary I watched some time ago and hopefully someone can find the name because I cannot. It basically went on to describe that in japan they would only file murder charges on suspects when they knew they could get a conviction.
Otherwise the police would just file the death as an accident or something. The other thing it went into is how the yakuza would basically act as a un-official police force. Basically the proper police would let them exist as long as they kept the criminal element inline. It was a cool documentary, really hope one of you gets a neuron spark and can tell me the name.
My take as someone who wants to visit:
Seems like most legal issues you read about -with people visiting japan- is they do stupid things drunk or they get into fights. It's a nation where five year old kiddos ride public transportation alone. I think they just have zero tolerance for stupid anti-social behavior.
The US does some related things:
1. The DoJ mailed letters to large employers to not provide legal funding for company officers because they were out-gunned. Those letters were laughed off.
2. The conviction rate for prosecutors is their "score-card" which creates all kinds of perverse incentives, especially for those elected
3. The SEC is very selective about who they will prosecute and avoid defendants with deep pockets
Even if it's marijuana. It's not worth it. Don't do it. Don't be around it.
Maybe they think I'm a narc.
Life is weird sometimes.
In a big city in the USA, if you want to be offered drugs on the street, you need to look well put together, and be in a luxury district.
Stay in a high end boutique hotel in manhattan, dress well, and you'll have someone offer you drugs almost every day.