Monday, February 25, 2008

Thinking of getting drunk in Roppongi? Justice in Unique Japan

Hatoyama: As the Japanese place so much importance on the value of life, it is thought that one should pay with one's own life for taking the life of another, whereas Europe is a civilization of "chikara to tousou" ("force and strife"). So, conversely, things are moving against the death penalty. This is an important point to understand. The so-called civilizations of "chikara to tousou" are the opposite of us. From incipient stages, their conception of the value of life is weaker than the Japanese. Therefore, they are moving toward abolition of the death penalty. It is important that this discourse on civilizations be understood.

...the philosophy here espoused by Hatoyama and other senior Liberal Democratic Party conservatives, including former Education Minister Ibuki Bunmei (now LDP secretary general), is heavily influenced by the International Research Center for Japanese Studies in Kyoto, and affiliated scholars like environmental archaeologist Yasuda Yoshinori and comparative economic historian Kawakatsu Heita. “Yasuda is the most prolific proponent of the environmental determinist school of thought, according to which Japan is a "civilization of beauty and compassion," in contrast with Judeo-Christian and Islamic states, and even China,” writes Wetherall. “His books are standard reading for romantic nationalists.”

Well, then folks in Texas must place more importance on life than most others on earth if you consider the number of executions. So must China. An old quote from someone whom many non-Japanese consider an idiot, but I suspect is not an especially uncommon belief in Japan.

Those UN [from the UN Committee on Torture] comments echo earlier reports by the Japan Bar Association, Human Rights Watch, the International Bar Association and other UN panels that say Japan’s treatment of criminal suspects is unfair and leads to coerced confessions. In about 99% of criminal trials, defendants are found guilty, and in the bulk of cases, the defendant has confessed to charges. Lawyers are not allowed to be present during interrogations, either before or after indictment. Suspects often allege psychological and sometimes physical abuse.

You don't want to be arrested in Japan. You want no trouble with the police. There ain't no innocent until proven guilty. You are screwed as soon as you are arrested. So is your lawyer it seems:

....lawyers – the last line of defense in this potholed legal landscape – are not immune from harassment. Tokyo lawyer Yasuda Yoshihiro was arrested in 1998 and held for 300 days...

but the judges will make sure justice is upheld:

...Takano Takashi, a lawyer and professor at Waseda University’s school of law. “I’ve seen many judges sleep during trial.”.... after 25 years practicing law, just five of his clients have been completely exonerated. “Some lawyers go their whole lives without winning a case,” he explains.

If you get arrested, guilty or not, just bend over and kiss your own ass goodbye. Now you know one reason Japanese crime is relatively low. You also know why people are so reluctant to involve the police or other authorities in matters, even relatively serious ones. Now do you really want to take any chances here?

All quotes from Certain Justice. Japan’s Detention System and the Rights of the Accused by David McNeill. Japan Focus.

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