Still Seeking Justice
Reform and Redress of Japan's Flawed Judicial System
In this book the authors address recent reforms implemented to Japan’s judicial system, pointing to a bundle of unsavory problems in the new system and offering insightful suggestions for its improvement.
The authors are Hiromasa Ezoe, the central figure in the Recruit scandal that rocked Japan in the late 1980s, and attorneys who were involved in his defense trial. In the companion volume Were Is the Justice? (2010) Ezoe describes how a groundless news scoop by the Asahi Shimbun newspaper in 1988 led to a full-fledged media frenzy in which he, the founder of Recruit Co., Ltd., a prominent publisher of information magazines, was quickly reduced from a highly regarded self-made media baron to a viciously vilified perpetrator of bribery deserving of the severest punishment—all before he was put on trial. He also reveals how he was subjected to torture-like interrogations by prosecutors behind closed doors.
Japan “boasts” a conviction rate of 99.8%—a statistic unimaginably high in any other country. But that phenomenal “success” rate is the result of coercive interrogations away from public scrutiny. What is needed is complete recording in all situations. In addition, as the Recruit case revealed, in Japan judicial decisions are heavily influenced by the content and tone of media reporting. There are warranted concerns that the new lay judge system will only amplify such influence. Also. lay judges are compelled to bear unconscionably heavy burdens.
Ezoe and his co-authors deal with these issues, and offer suggestions aimed at bringing Japan’s justice system, belatedly, into the 21st century.