Debito Arudou does paint a bleak picture of the travails of many foreigners at the hands of the Japanese legal system. I do have issues with a couple of his points, though. First, he asserts that “bail [is] impossible for non-Japanese to get.” Yet, simply typing “foreigner bail” into The Japan Times’ online search engine reveals a story about a foreigner getting bail.
Second, Arudou concludes the article by painting the Japanese with a broad brush that I suspect he would be quick to condemn if others made such a claim. He states that the Japanese are “actually scared stiff of the police and the public prosecutor.” He provides no evidence to back this up.
However, in December 2006, a survey by Japan’s Cabinet Office found that 56.7 percent would always report crimes they witnessed and 41.1 percent would sometimes do so, depending on the circumstances. Fear of reprisals from criminals was the main reason people would not come forward. Additionally, 96.6 percent of those surveyed would cooperate to a greater or lesser degree with investigations. These attitudes hardly demonstrate that the Japanese are scared stiff of the authorities.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
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