In preparation for the lay judge system, which recently started, public prosecutors and police began partially videotaping the interrogation of suspects on a trial basis in August 2006 and in September 2008. The videotaped scenes are of investigators reading the record of a suspect’s oral statement to the suspect, who then signs it. The videotaping serves as evidence.

But the experience of Mr. Toshikazu Sugaya, who was released in June on the strength of a new DNA test indicating his innocence — after he had served 17 years of a life sentence for the 1990 murder of a 4-year-old girl in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture — appears to reinforce the case for videotaping all of the interrogation process.

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