Recordings of interrogations to be expanded to include early stages

Kyodo

The National Police Agency said Thursday it will expand the case criteria for recording interrogations in April to help ensure that people are properly investigated and to prevent wrongful charges.

Police started using audiovisual recordings on an experimental basis in 2008 mainly for serious criminal cases subject to lay judge trials. In these cases, interrogations were partly videotaped only after suspects confessed to crimes earlier in the investigation process.

Under the new experimental guidelines, police will now record some of the interrogation process for suspects who deny allegations. They will also record interviews with suspects who might be easily led by investigators, including those with mental disabilities, even in minor cases that are not tried by lay judges.

In addition, police officers will be required to record any questioning that takes place immediately after an arrest, when suspects are quizzed about sudden changes in stance after earlier denials, and when they sign records of their interrogations.

The new guidelines also require officers to send the recordings to prosecutors unedited.

The NPA will eventually equip around 1,200 police stations and other facilities across the country with video cameras. It currently has 386 video recording units for use during questioning.