Thursday, August 26, 2004

Justice...Still a Few Months Away

I've bumped into my friend, the one who has been dealt a low-blow by the police in this city (Tokyo, Japan), a couple of times since he was freed on bail. It seems that the right to a speedy trial is not something that is on the books here. He's yet to witness a day in court that has amounted to anything that might be called 'progress'.

There have been reports that corrupt police officers around the country have taken to making up incidents, and filing the required paperwork, so as to inflate their own job-performance records. I have no idea whether this is a related incident, but it's definitely food for thought.

My prediction is that this one could drag on for a bit. Trials in Japan don't involve juries, and the number of hearings that are required to complete a court case is astronomical. As I mentioned in my last post, this friend of mine is incredibly fortunate to be able to afford a lawyer. It is my guess that very few foreign detainees are so lucky. There is also that often overlooked number, 99. This number is the percentage of cases taken up by a prosecutor in Japan that result in a conviction.

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