chapter  4
30 Pages

Victim participation

Pursuing the therapeutic potential of criminal procedure 1
ByErik Herber

For years, crime victims’ only role in Japanese criminal justice was that of a witness providing evidence. Beyond that, their perspectives were largely overlooked, as were their interests and needs. In line with a growing worldwide acknowledgment of victims’ rights and interests in Japan two different reforms were implemented to help remedy this situation. As a part of that process the Japanese Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) was revised, twice (in 2000 and 2008), so as to make it possible for victims to participate in both the pre-trial and trial phases of criminal proceedings. They were given the opportunity to play a role as crime victims, rather than as witnesses in service of a process focused on the defendant. Thus, these reforms created a new criminal justice role for another “outsider” – a role that was theirs if they wished to play it.