Public Prosecutors Were Taught That Yakuza & Foreigners Have No Rights

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    Nico Nico News has posted an article about Hiroshi Ishikawa, a former public prosecutor who wants to spread the word about bad things that are going on behind the scenes in Japan’s justice system. Here is an English translation of the article, which was posted on by Level 3:

    Stunning revelation from former prosecutor on the real situation of initial training, “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no rights”

    The chief prosecutor in the Saga City Agricultural Co-op case, infamous for use of false charges, spoke at a symposium held in Tokyo on May 23, 2011. He gave a stunningly candid account of the reality of training for new employees. He disclosed that in his past experience, “We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no rights.” and “Prosecutors are instructed to make up a confession on their own and then make the suspect sign it.” Further, he gave a chilling account of how under this warped training system, “While being trained in this way, I came to sort of agree that these kinds of things were only natural.”

    The person bringing up accusations against his old training ground is former prosecutor Hiroshi Ishikawa. Ishiakwa was involved as the chief prosecutor in the Saga City Agricultre Co-op case that arose in 2000. In that case, during police questioning of the former union leader, a forced confession was obtained as police screamed, “We’ll fucking beat you to death, you bastard!” The union leader had been indicted on suspicion of breach of trust, but was found not guilty based on refusal to accept the confession was voluntary. As a result, Ishikawa received a harsh reprimand and resigned his post as public prosecutor.

    Ishikawa spoke on that day as a panelist at a symposium on the theme “Prosecution, Public Opinion, and False Charges” held at the Graduate School of Communications at Meiji University. At first, he gave shocking testimony that, “I admit that public prosecutors, having committed errors unsuited to their position, must take the position of offering profuse apologies.” while also noting that, “I want to tell the whole truth, so we can know how many threat-spewing public prosecutors were created.”

    Ishikawa was first appointed to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office in 1993. In his first year there, he claims his superiors taught him that, ‘Yakuza and foreigners have no rights’ “That superior said on that point, ‘Foreigners don’t understand Japanese, so if you speak Japanese, you can heap as much verbal abuse as you want on them.’” Further, that superior said, “Once when we were interrogating a foreign suspect, we thrust an awl right in front of his eye and shouted abuses at him in Japanese. That’s how you get confessions!” as Ishikawa recounted his personal experiences.

    In his third year, a superior instructed him on methods to take confessions. That being, the prosecutor rattling off a made-up confession and then thrusting the confession form at the suspect and making them sign it. If the suspect refused to sign, what should be done? “If the suspect resists, tell him, ‘This is not your confession form, it’s just [you acknowledging] what I’m saying.’” , Ishikawa recalled of that period.

    “When being trained in such a manner, you come to sort of believe that these things are only natural. In my eighth year, even I verbally abused suspects, totally unsuitable for to my position. The case had a not guilty verdict, and it ended up with my resignation.”

    In 2005, Ishikawa quit the prosecutor’s office altogether and is now practicing as a lawyer. On the day before the symposium (May 22), he appeared on the Asahi Broadcast Network news program “The Scoop – Special” to give a much talked-about televised apology to the family of the former labor leader he had once verbally abused. The Meiji Univ. symposium was live-streamed on NicoNico Douga where he gave his reason for making these statements in a public forum as, “To atone for my terrible mistakes, I thought, ‘Isn’t it my duty to tell what I have seen and what I have heard?’”

    [via FG]

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