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Why Be Surprised At Carlos Ghosn’s Treatment? That’s The Japanese Justice System For You

Varied are complaining about how Carlos Ghosn is being treated in that Japanese jail as a result of his – sorry, allegations of – being a little too free into his paycheque with the company’s money behaviour. It’s entirely true that we’d not want to be treated this way ourselves, equally so that our own justice systems – at least the UK or US – wouldn’t either treat us this way nor would be allowed to. But it is necessary to recall one basic point, Japan is a different, foreign, country, they do things differently there. And one of the things they do very differently is the criminal justice system.

Just as an example, and of the difference not of something they’re going to do with Nissan’s ex-head, they still execute in Japan. By hanging. Perhaps not all that much of a surprise to Americans but that’s considered very old hat and vicious here in Europe these days. But more than that. Someone can be tried and convicted, all appeals done and dusted, then just left alone. The Ministry of Justice doesn’t tell the condemned’s family when execution might take place. Indeed, they’ve been known to not even tell them when it has been. More, they don’t particularly tell the condemned.

No, really, the bloke who’s to be hanged, they don’t tell him when. Just one morning, after breakfast, they might turn up and say today’s the day. And then after lunch they hang him. Might take them 5, 10 maybe 15 years to actually do it. With that Holy Terror for the condemned every morning just after breakfast, that today might be the day.

Japan’s a place that does criminal justice differently.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Carlos Ghosn is being held in “draconian” conditions designed to “coerce a confession”, according to the wife of the former Nissan chairman who faces allegations of financial crimes while running the Japanese car giant. Carole Ghosn has written to Human Rights Watch complaining about her husband’s detention following his arrest on Nov 19. [/perfectpullquote]

That’s one way that system is indeed different. Sure, they have courts, lawyers, know what the word evidence means and all that. They’re just not very important in the system. Instead, the accused confesses and by doing so manages to extirpate some of the shame of having committed the crime. And that holding regime leading up to the court appearance – trial would be too glorified a word – is designed to aid in reaching the stage of wishing to make such a confession.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]In Japan, interrogations can be done without a lawyer present. Suspects can be detained for up to 23 days before being formally charged. Bail is not easily granted unless a suspect admits to the charges, according to the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations.[/perfectpullquote]

See? You’ll not even get bail without the confession to guilt.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “For hours each day, the prosecutors interrogate him, browbeat him, lecture him and berate him, outside the presence of his attorneys, in an effort to extract a confession,” Mrs Ghosn claimed. “No one should be forced to endure what my husband faces every day, particularly in a developed nation like Japan, the third largest economy in the world.” [/perfectpullquote]

Yes, from the point of those running that justice system that’s the point and purpose of that part of the justice system.

There’s nothing very surprising or odd about the way that Carlos Ghosn is being treated in that Japanese jail. That’s just what their system is. Decry it all we wish, just don’t be surprised.

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Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
5 years ago

We should be imposing our beliefs and telling furriners how to run their countries! Wait, no, we shouldn’t be imposing our beliefs and telling furriniers to run their countries! Argh! Which is it?

Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
5 years ago

The problem of progressives and that pesky logical consistency.


[…] Of course, many convicted in Japan’s system are indeed bang to rights but it’s doubtful whether any conviction at all in that system would stand up to an appeal in any EU or US jurisdiction. As we’ve noted before they simply do things differently there: […]

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