January 25, 2008

Japanese may record police interrogations

A series of highly publicized wrongful conviction cases in the Western world has led to vigorous debate over coercive police tactics and whether all interrogations should be recorded. Now, with its own recent revelations of coerced confessions, the Japanese criminal justice system is confronting the same issues.

The debate in Japan centers around next year's introduction of a lay-judge system, in which citizens will begin serving in juror-like capacities for the first time. The new system will require police to present to these non-professionals what suspects said during police questioning.

The Supreme Court, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, the Justice Ministry and the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office have set up a panel to discuss filming interrogations, with the bar federation demanding the introduction of cameras.

The full story is in today’s Daily Yomiuri online.