Regarding the Oct. 13 editorial “Revising Status of Forces Agreement” and, specifically, the statement in the editorial that “A new agreement should oblige the U.S. to turn over suspects with the provision that they be accorded the same legal treatment in Japan as they would be given in the U.S.” (the so-called sticking point in negotiations about the U.S. forces in Japan): Such an agreement is impossible simply for the fact that it would draw the domestic population to look at Japan’s present draconian system.
How long would it be before the public started asking questions like:
Is having the authority to hold civilians for 23 days without charge excessive?
Are daiyo kangoku (detention cells at police stations) really necessary anymore?
Should interrogations be recorded?
Is psychological torture during interrogations really necessary?
Should coercion of confessions be made a criminal offense and punishable?
Should withholding medical treatment, meals and access to visitors from suspects until they confess be made punishable?
And so on for the myriad problems with the present system.
It’s a shaky house of cards, and doing something like this could cause the entire thing to come crashing down once people start actually looking at it and asking questions.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.