• Kyodo News

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Police have recorded the reading of interrogation reports on 58 crime suspects, and their subsequent signing off on the reports, since taping was introduced last September.

In six of the cases, DVDs of the video recordings were presented in court as evidence, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

Police in Tokyo, Osaka, Kanagawa, Saitama and Chiba have been using the system on a trial basis since Sept. 2 ahead of the start of the lay judge system this May.

The practice is aimed at verifying the credibility of interrogation records and preventing police from coercing innocent people into confessing. It has mainly been applied in cases in which the police think the suspects might retract their confessions during trial.

Of all criminal cases the five police departments handled between last September and the end of February, 838 were judged eligible for trial under the lay judge system.

Interrogators were recorded reading the interrogation reports to suspects and the suspects signing the reports.

The agency said suspects in 11 cases changed their statements in the course of the interrogations as they came to feel remorse for their crimes.

All interrogators involved said they are against recording everything, claiming doing so would make it hard to build a relationship with suspects.

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