Judicial Reform Promoted in Decade since Prosecutor Scandal

Politics

Tokyo, Sept. 21 (Jiji Press)--Criminal justice system reform has been promoted in Japan in the past decade since the arrests of three senior prosecutors over an alteration of evidence seized during an investigation into a high-profile postage scandal.

Audio and video recording of interrogations by law-enforcement authorities and a Japanese version of plea bargaining have been launched as part of the reform, but there are issues that remain to be tackled in the criminal justice system.

Monday marked the 10th anniversary of the arrest of the first of the three prosecutors on suspicion of tampering with evidence related to the abuse of a postage discount system for organizations serving the disabled. All the three prosecutors were found guilty, while a then senior welfare ministry bureaucrat was acquitted.

Recording of interrogations became mandatory in 2019 for cases dealt with exclusively by prosecutors and those handled by the lay judge system.

Taping has also increased for other cases on a trial basis. According to the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office, the number of such other cases for which interrogations were fully recorded by prosecutors' offices across Japan rose from about 30,000 in fiscal 2015 to some 90,000 in fiscal 2019.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press