Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Major Crimes against the State

It's a major crime against the state to use the power of the prosecutor's office to inflict human rights violations; the public prosecutors who did this need to be severely punished.

Many defendants have come forward to say that the public prosecutor's office used a secret interrogation room to threaten and inflict mock-executions and torture on the defendants until they signed on to the stories made up by the prosecutors. This is a major state crime. But the prosecutors who presided over these inhuman acts go largely unaccused of any misdeeds. We can't overlook this.

While the Osaka District Public Prosecutor's Office was shaken to the core when word of the evidence-tampering scandal involving Tsunehiko Maeda of the special investigation unit surfaced, the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office has practically succeeded in making it a case for the Osaka office alone to work out. The mass media has helped by circling the wagons.

But the whole country knows that Maeda is just the tip of the iceberg. An overhaul of the whole prosecutor's system is necessary. At the very least, we need to take a scalpel to the current status quo, where the special investigations division of the public prosecutor's office has the right of arrest and the right of prosecution at the same time. In fact, the office's power is untethered.

The Diet should enact laws that make investigations transparent. The Diet should pass a resolution that to overcome human rights violations, transparency laws should govern investigations. The Maeda incident will not be resolved if it is framed as an Osaka prosecutor's problem. A complete overhaul of the Public Prosecutor's Office is needed.