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The release of former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn on ¥1 billion bail after he spent 108 days behind bars following his arrest last November should provide people with an opportunity to stop and think about Japan’s criminal justice system, in particular the phenomenon in which the accused can be detained for months, or even more than a year, before they stand trial.

Just as the charges — aggravated breach of trust and underreporting his executive income — against the man who successfully led the turnaround of a major automaker and headed the global Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi Motors alliance drew heightened international media attention, the system that can keep the accused detained for extended periods after indictment — especially if they maintain their innocence — has been widely criticized as “hostage justice” aimed at forcing a confession.

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