Torture in  [Japan]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Japan]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Japan]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Japan]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                  


Two notable characteristic of the post-war economy were the close interlocking structures of manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, known as keiretsu, and the guarantee of lifetime employment for a substantial portion of the urban labor force. Both features are now eroding under the dual pressures of global competition and domestic demographic change.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Japan

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Japan.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2013

[accessed 26 Jan 2014]

JUSTICE SYSTEM - The daiyo kangoku system, which allows police to detain suspects for up to 23 days, continued to facilitate torture and other ill-treatment to extract confessions during interrogation. The Special Committee of the Legislative Council under the Ministry of Justice continued to discuss potential reforms to the criminal justice system.

Govinda Prasad Mainali, a Nepalese national, was acquitted of murder on 7 November after spending 15 years in prison. He was ill-treated and denied access to a lawyer while being held under the daiyo kangoku system. In July 2011, the prosecution handed over evidence that subsequently proved him innocent.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture [PDF]

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/JPN/CO/1 3 August 2007

[accessed 2 March 2013]

Interrogation rules and confessions

16. The Committee is deeply concerned at the large number of convictions in criminal trials based on confessions, in particular in light of the lack of effective judicial control over the use of pre-trial detention and the disproportionately high number of convictions over acquittals. The Committee is also concerned at the lack of means for verifying the proper conduct of interrogations of detainees while in police custody, in particular the absence of strict time limits for the duration of interrogations and the fact that it is not mandatory to have defence counsel present during all interrogations. In addition, the Committee is concerned that, under domestic legislation, voluntary confessions made as a result of interrogations not in conformity with the Convention may be admissible in court, in violation of article 15 of the Convention.

The State party should ensure that the interrogation of detainees in police custody or substitute prisons is systematically monitored by mechanisms such as electronic and video recording of all interrogations; that detainees are guaranteed access to and the presence of defence counsel during interrogation; and that recordings are made available for use in criminal trials.

In addition, the State party should promptly adopt strict rules concerning the length of interrogations, with appropriate sanctions for non-compliance. The State party should amend its Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure full conformity with article 15 of the Convention.

The State party should provide the Committee with information on the number of confessions made under compulsion, torture or threat, or after prolonged arrest or detention, that were not admitted into evidence.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 2 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and the government generally respected these provisions in practice. However, there were isolated reports by bar associations, human rights groups, and prisoners that police and prison officials sometimes committed abuses.

Although prison rules remained confidential, reported punishments included forcing Japanese prisoners to kneel motionless in an empty cell for several hours at a time and requiring foreigners and inmates with disabilities to sit on a hard stool. While the Prison Law Enforcement Regulation stipulates that the maximum time prisoners may be held in single cells is 6 months, wardens continued to have broad leeway in enforcing punishments selectively, including "minor solitary confinement," which may be imposed for a minimum of 1 and not more than 60 days. Parole may not be granted for any reason, including medical and humanitarian reasons, until an inmate has served two-thirds of his or her sentence.

Human rights organizations reported that death row prisoners were held for years in solitary confinement with little contact with anyone but prison guards.

The law and the criminal code include safeguards to ensure that suspects cannot be compelled to confess to a crime and that they cannot be convicted or punished in cases where a suspect's confession is the only evidence. Unlike in 2004, there were no reports that police used physical violence that included kicking and beating as well as psychological intimidation during interrogation to obtain confessions. A significant number of all criminal cases going to trial included confessions, reflecting the priority the judicial system placed on admission of guilt.

Unlike in 2004, there were no reports that prison guards sexually abused female inmates. On January 28, the prison officer who raped and impregnated a female inmate in 2003 was convicted and sentenced to a three‑year prison term. There was no information on the case of the male prison warden charged with engaging in sexual acts with a female inmate in 2004.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 2   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 2 February 2013]

Japan’s judiciary is independent. There are several levels of courts, and suspects are generally given fair public trials by an impartial tribunal (there are no juries) within three months of being detained. Prison conditions comply with international standards, although prison officials have been known to use physical and psychological intimidation to enforce discipline or elicit confessions. The government sometimes restricts human rights groups’ access to prisons. A new Penal Facilities and Treatment of Prisoners Law was adopted in 2006, replacing the 1908 law. It provides for a monitoring body to inspect prisons, improved access to the outside world for prisoners, and human rights education for prison staff. The National Police Agency is under civilian control and is highly disciplined, though reports of human rights abuses committed by police persist. While arbitrary arrest and imprisonment are not practiced, there is potential for abuse due to a law that allows the police to detain suspects for up to 23 days without charge in order to extract confessions.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Japan",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Japan]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Japan]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Japan]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Japan]  [other countries]