National / Crime & Legal

Japan police taped 94% of interrogations in fiscal 2019 lay judge cases

Jiji, Kyodo

Japanese police fully taped 94.2 percent of their interrogations in lay judge trial cases in fiscal 2019, a National Police Agency survey showed Thursday.

The police across the country recorded interrogation processes of 3,828 cases out of 4,062 cases in the year that ended in March.

The country put into effect in June 2019 the revised Code of Criminal Procedure, which requires police to fully tape interrogations of criminal cases in the lay judge trials.

Of the total 4,062 cases, 210 cases were either partially recorded or not recorded at all, because they involved members of organized crime groups, or suspects refused being taped. Cases involving such crime group members are not subject to the mandatory recording.

In another 24 cases, interrogations were either partially recorded or not recorded at all due to device operation mistakes, memory shortages of recording devices or police officers misunderstanding the recording system itself, according to the NPA survey.

“The recording failures should not have happened and we will investigate the causes in order to prevent similar problems from occurring again,” an official at the NPA said.

The NPA supplied to police stations throughout Japan around 4,000 recording devices by the end of March 2020.

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