Ex-Special Prosecutors Pen Letter against Retirement Age Bill

Politics

Tokyo, May 18 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government's aim to win parliamentary approval of a controversial prosecutor law revision has been dealt another blow, with a group of former members of special prosecution investigation squads submitting a letter of opposition to the bill, it was learned Monday.

The move came after 14 retired senior prosecutors, including former Prosecutor-General Kunihiro Matsuo, sent a similar letter urging the government to scrap its plan. It is extremely rare for a series of former prosecutors to criticize a government bill, and the development reflects strong concerns that the legislation may compromise the power of prosecutors.

The proposed revision to the public prosecutors office law has a provision to allow the cabinet to grant tenure extensions at its discretion for senior prosecutors, including the prosecutor-general, beyond the statutory retirement ages, giving rise to criticism that the amendment may lead to arbitrary personnel decisions by the government.

The former special prosecutors' letter, addressed to Justice Minister Masako Mori, was submitted to the Justice Ministry on Monday. It expressed grave worries about the threat to prosecutors' independence and political neutrality and urged the government to reconsider the bill.

It was signed by 38 former prosecutors, including Katsuhiko Kumazaki, 78, former chief of the special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office, and his successors.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press