chapter  3
14 Pages

Criminal Justice reform of 2016

A solution to the infamous problems in Japanese criminal procedure?
WithKana Sasakura

This chapter examines the 2016 Criminal Justice reform, and focuses on the new kyogi-goi system – the bargaining negotiation and agreement system between prosecutors and cooperating suspects/defendants. It reviews the major criminal reforms in the past two decades: the first in the early 2000s and the second in the 2010s. The chapter illustrates the contents of the latest reform, and examines the new bargaining system, kyogi-goi system. Time seemed ripe for reform of the foundation of the house, with the aim of enhancing transparency of criminal justice in Japan. The 2016 reform finally introduced mandatory video-recording of interrogations by prosecutors; it is limited mainly to interrogation of detained suspects in saiban’in cases. A long-standing criticism of Japanese criminal justice levelled by the international community has been the use of lengthy detention through the infamous daiyou kangoku, and interrogation by police and/or prosecutors.