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The Democratic Party of Japan’s election manifesto calls for all interrogations of criminal suspects by investigators to be recorded on video, to (1) prevent prolonging a trial because of differences in opinion between public prosecutors and defense counsel members over the reliability of the record of a suspect’s oral statement, and (2) prevent false charges resulting from confessions made under duress.

In news conferences after their appointment to Cabinet posts, both Justice Minister Keiko Chiba and National Safety Commission Chairman Hiroshi Nakai said they will work hard to fulfill the election promise. At the same time, Mr. Nakai said investigators must be allowed to employ the “weapons” of plea bargaining, sting operations and undercover probes to help uncover more crimes and increase the number of arrests and indictments. Mr. Nakai seems to think that the introduction of these investigative methods will reduce investigators’ opposition to full videotaping of the interrogation process.

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