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With the lay judge system scheduled to be introduced by May 2009, a system should be developed to ensure that investigators’ records of suspects’ oral statements are trustworthy. Recent cases involving false confessions highlight the urgent need for such a system.

In Toyama Prefecture, a 40-year-old man from Himi was found guilty of rape in November 2002 and was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment. He was released on parole in January 2005. Then another man arrested in connection with a different case confessed in November 2006 that he was the true criminal. The first man had initially denied the rape charges but then later accepted them. In a retrial that started in June, the prosecution sought an acquittal. A ruling is expected next week.

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