Just $5 a month. Japan’s criminal justice system has a stunning 99 per cent conviction rate (which gives ironic new meaning to the sobriquet “the one percent”), and that could be … MURAOKA Unquestionably, some on the bench feel their ability to read a case is infallible. There is no evidence Ghosn was treated any differently due to being a foreigner. From armed robots and cyberattacks to grand strategic questions, four things to watch in the new year. In Japan, going to trial with such a low level of assuredness of the outcome would be unthinkable. MURAI One critical issue is that judges are not doing so. Seoul has hesitated to tighten restrictions thus far, even as health authorities predict the number of daily cases might top 1,000. In reality, though, prosecutors and the police prefer the more balanced approach of sparing the innocent while assuring that the guilty are punished. Police officers: Number of police officers per 100,000 population. It goes without saying that judges must uphold the standard of presumed innocence, but for this to happen defense lawyers need to step up and take on a greater role in proceedings. But with cases climbing again, will Tokyo’s approach hold? The conviction rate is actually 99.3 percent, but the indictment rate is 37 percent. If the U.S. conviction rate were calculated in a similar manner it would also exceed 99 percent since so few cases are contested at trial (in FY 2018 only 320 of the total number of 79,704 federal defendants were acquitted at trial). Despite Japan having a low crime rate, such numbers create a significant case overload for prosecutors. This and the other issues I mentioned previously are what have produced Japan’s 99.9 percent conviction rate. By comparison, the penal systems in many countries just lock prisoners away, making it hard for them to integrate back into society when they finally get out. Get briefed on the story of the week, and developing stories to watch across the Asia-Pacific. In Britain, for example, prosecutors use what is called the “51 percent rule” as a baseline in deciding whether to pursue a case, with the figure describing their confidence that a jury will decide in their favor. It is closer to Japan’s traditional criminal law system, with the judge taking an active fact-finding role by reviewing evidence, questioning the various parties to establish facts, determining what information is applicable, and then passing judgement. Cultural images are quickly deployed in “support” of such views. for Us. Conviction rates in Japan exceed 99 percent -- why? But it also needs to work towards making domestic industries competitive. Prime Minister K.P. MURAI Japan adheres to the idea of “precision justice,” whereby prosecuting lawyers are under strict judicial requirements to thoroughly investigate cases to make them nearly airtight. According to the White Paper on Crime, 2012 t he Japanese homicide rate in . The Ghosn case presents a splendid opportunity to further our own understanding of both a foreign and our own criminal justice system. This would not be the situation if Japan had a bona fide adversarial system, but the fact of the matter is that the balance of power in Japanese courts is skewed. INTERVIEWER What are some key issues Japan’s criminal justice system faces? justice. Data in Japan, a unitary system, are far more systematic. After the war, the current system where trained judges delivered the verdicts was put in place. On the one hand, because Japanese prosecutors are badly understaffed they may prosecute only their strongest cases and present judges only with the most obviously guilty defendants. 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