The idea of presumption of innocence and the accused being held without access to a lawyer are topics that have been raised since the arrest of Mr Calos Ghosn last month. Under the Japanese legal system there are some differences that may surprise westerners who have grown to understand the US, UK and French legal systems. The idea of having a lawyer present when speaking to an arresting officer is clearly looked at differently in every country and the legal rights of the accused are important. Mr Ghosn was expected to be released, as reported in the Japanese press, but he was rearrested. Mr Ghosn was detained another 10 days on December 20.
The conviction rate in Japan is 99 percent, one of the highest in the world. What is most interesting about the Japanese system is that when a officer arrests a suspect, it is the duty of the officer to start working on a confession. So one would naturally raise this issue, confess to what? The officer apparently only arrests criminals so it makes sense not to get arrested. In the US, a person is presumed innocent and has the right to an attorney, but if there are no charges, must be released within 72 hours. Sure, the US system does have flaws, but the right to an attorney is a key form of protection in all countries, as it is considered a necessary so the suspect does not misspeak.
In Japan, the system is that the prosecutor arrests and rearrests as the investigation is conducted. This means that each time the suspect is released, new changes are leveled against him or her and more time is spent in jail. Some in Japan call this “hostage justice” but the system is designed that way. More on this topic later in the week.