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On Dec. 15 the Supreme Court upheld lower court decisions ordering a retrial of two men convicted in a 1967 murder-robbery case in the town of Tone, Ibaraki Prefecture. Although no material evidence came forth in the case, the life sentences given to the two men were finalized in 1978 on the strength of their confessions and an eyewitness account. They were released on parole in 1996. The top court decision strengthens the case for video-recording the entire process of interrogation of criminal suspects.

In August 1967, a carpenter was strangled and robbed of ¥100,700 at Fukawa in Tone. Two men who were arrested the following October confessed to the crime. But after their transfer to a detention facility of the Justice Ministry, they denied involvement. After they were sent back to a police facility, they again confessed to the crime.

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