by Kevin R Burns
Japan Lawyers: crime and the legal system in Japan. The system here is kind of like France`s system, guilty until proven innocent. Plus the police can be quite brutal. A friend of mine was thrown into a chair by the police at a police station, and they have frequently been accused of unfair practices--submitting suspects to sleep deprivation and forced confession of suspects.
See our list of Lawyers at the Link at the bottom
Amnesty International Japan is attempting to help speed the process of reform of the system of police questioning in Japan and making the legal system more fair for all.
At times the police and press don`t help! Here is a recent news report from Japan Today. I sympathize with the former victims of apartheid, African North Americans, and other people of color in North America as I feel to some extent at least, I know their pain.
Being a large caucasian man in the countryside of Japan, I get stared at by the police all the time in our area. I find the Tokyo police much less intrusive and less agressive frankly. I suppose to some extent I am an oddity in our area--a rarity. So the police will naturally stare at me more.
A good friend pointed out that his students often cannot recognize him on the street. I have found the same thing. I think Japanese tend to find it difficult to tell caucasians apart.
So perhaps the police by staring at me, by buzzing at me with their motorcycles, or following me on foot in pairs, when I put pamphlets in the mailboxes of the neighbourhood in, Odawara where my English school is located, or following me very closely in their police cars, when I drive are wondering simply who I am?
I`ve heard Japanese complain about the J-police and their tactics too. They are often very severe simply for a speeding ticket, or the way they check if children are strapped into a child seat (according to my Japanese wife).
I`m sure their goal is to make culprits nervous and cause them to flee, then they can simply catch them. The problem is these heavy handed tactics make innocent people like me nervous and wanting to flee. It also gives me a bad feeling about living in Japan.
The Japanese police and the way they operate is one of the negatives of life in Japan. I hope things will change as Japan internationalizes more.
Here`s a Recent & Typically Vague Crime Report from the News
*Reports such as these (below) often turn out to be false. Often the person in question has somehow committed a crime his or herself. Why would they do this? Perhaps to gain sympathy from someone, or to make an insurance claim. An unstable woman in Kanagawa claimed that she had been slashed but it
turned out to be false and she had simply wanted more sympathy from her busy husband.
Japan Lawyers -- News Report
From Japan Today
Elderly woman robbed, punched in the face on Tokyo street
Friday 11th June, 2010
An elderly lady was punched in the face by a man and robbed of the 6 million yen she had just withdrawn from the bank on Thursday afternoon in Tokyo’s Nakano Ward, police said.
According to police, the 75-year-old woman was walking down the street when a man suddenly pointed at the small bag she was carrying and said “This, this,” before punching her in the face several times and fleeing with the bag.
The woman told police the man was Caucasian. “I paused for a second when he spoke to me because I didn’t know him, and the next thing I knew, he was hitting me. Then he took my bag and ran,” she was quoted as saying.
The thief is said to be about 175 cm tall and was wearing a navy-colored business suit. Police believe he followed the woman from the bank and was waiting for an opportune moment to rob her.
The above article -- From Japan Today
Note the description of the accused is: caucasian male about 175 cm tall. That describes thousands of non-Japanese and even some naturalized Japanese. Pretty vague to say the least! It reminds me of an old Canadian comedy show called Kids in the Hall and their episode where an African North American man, is dressed in a suit and the police dispatch says:
"Calling all cars, calling all cars, black man walking on Young Street."
(or something like that)
The next scene is of a very respectable young black man in a suit being hassled by two white police. Kind of reminds me of Japan sometimes.
The best list of Japan lawyers that I have found comes from the US Embassy. They make no claim as to how good these lawyers are, but at least it is a start if you need one.
Getting Divorced, Custody Crisis?
Are you planning to leave your spouse in Japan? If so it is a great idea to consult with some Japan lawyers here. How does custody work in Japan?
In Japan only one spouse can take custody of the children. The other partner then usually has access to the children only once per month and not for an overnight stay. As a general rule, the primary care giver, gets custody of the children after divorce.
Japanese judges routinely rule in the above way, and disregard things like personal income. By consulting with a lawyer early, the amount of money still on the table as child support or otherwise tends to be more.
You can get free legal consultation in English, Chinese, and Korea at AITS Shinjuku Law Office.