Saturday, 20 June 2015
In Japan, (Almost) Nobody is Ever "Not Guilty"
In an earlier post on this blog (click), I drew attention to the peculiar fact that the Japanese court system finds so few people not guilty that the acquittal rate seemingly cannot be measured as a percentage (secondary sources reported 99.9% conviction-rates, etc.). However, I wasn't satisfied until I'd seen breakdown of the categories used by the Japanese government, as it wasn't clear to what extent "not guilty" (in an informal sense) might overlap with other categories in the data. In Canada's case (as noted in my earlier blog-post) a very low rate of acquittal is counterbalanced to some extent by a significant number of cases "dismissed, stayed or withdrawn" (i.e., the later category is not equivalent to being acquitted, but it helps to explain the low rate of cases found "not guilty", as the Canadian system tends to dismiss cases in mid-trial). Could that be the case for Japan? No, evidently not.
Japan has a problem. As my earlier post noted (click), I'm not alone in this concern: the currently-unfolding experiment with "lay judges" (裁判員) reflects widespread concern about the criminal justice system, among the general public, and within the civil service. Nevertheless, Weeaboos send me hate-mail for daring to raise the issue.