|Posted by maZe|
Hobbes, we're talking about Japan here, not exactly Scotland when it comes to trespassing laws... Let's just say that Japan jails have a reputation and I would not try my luck at it. It might simply be easier to ask for permission...
Here are some horror stories about Japanese jails; I've read several accounts of how the court system virtually *never* acquits anyone that appears before it.
Japan's courts have a conviction rate of 99 percent.
Japan is a reluctant member of the world club of leading nations with respect to laws designed to protect individual rights. And for foreigners, Japan offers virtually no protections whatsoever.
Are Japanese jails and prisons world class? Well, they are better than a whole lot of places, but anyone incarcerated in one for any length of time will come out with horror stories, and they would have every right to complain of food, physical abuse and more. Remember: The Japanese jails of today are direct descendants of the Japanese military prison camps of not all that long ago. The people are different, but their behavior isn't.
Japan's jails are inhumane
Prisons in Japan
By Koichi Kikuta
Review by Keiji Hirano
If you are ever unlucky enough to be detained in a Japanese prison, your first day will commence with a humiliating body search, including anal probe, and if you work in the prison factory you will have to endure such body checks every day.
You will be ordered to strip completely in front of prison officials so they can check you are not hiding anything banned or dangerous. Sometimes the checks include the genitals.
You will be kept handcuffed in a solitary cell and put under 24-hour surveillance if you violate prison regulations. You will have to be prepared to eat and even use the toilet still handcuffed.
"Prisoners are sometimes punished even for minor offenses, such as having conversations with each other or wiping away their sweat during work in the factory without having asked permission," said Koichi Kikuta, criminology professor at Meiji University in Tokyo.
Kikuta has recently written a book called "Prisons in Japan" published by Iwanami Shoten Publishers. It is based mainly on interviews during the past 10 years with a total of 80 ex-prisoners, some of whom are homeless or have already returned to prison.
Kikuta, also a well-known anti-death penalty campaigner, warned that Japanese prisons, with their inhumane treatment of inmates, cannot be considered correctional facilities from which offenders can easily return to society.
"The former prisoners have fallen into a state of passivity, having become accustomed to militaristic disciplines when dining, exercising or bathing. This is one of the reasons it is hard for them to lead their own lives after completing their prison terms," he said.
In prison actual dining time is only about five to seven minutes, preventing inmates with bad teeth or elderly prisoners from chewing their food well, while in the bathrooms they have to wash their bodies or get into bathtubs at the command of prison officials, according to the book.
Underlining Kikuta's comments, a government survey shows that 52.5% of male prisoners in Japan in 2000 were serving at least their second prison term, and of these more than 30% had been imprisoned more than five times.
The United Nations' human rights committee has repeatedly urged Japan to correct its inhumane prison conditions.
Kikuta also notes in his book that deprivation of basic rights following prisoners' detention is another factor preventing them from returning to ordinary life after release from jail.
Letter exchanges and visiting are strictly limited to family members and lawyers, and both letters and interviews are heavily censored by prison officials.
Subscribing to newspapers is also restricted and controversial articles are blacked out.
"A prison should keep contact with society and open its facilities to the public so that ordinary people can support prisoners' rehabilitation and accept them more easily following their release. But it focuses only on retribution," he said.
Imprisonment also sometimes means that prisoners are removed from the residents' registry, resulting in various disadvantages in terms of national health insurance, pension and unemployment compensation insurance.
"It is possible for prisoners with family to continue paying national pension premiums, but if they are alone it is likely that they will be cut off from the pension system," Kikuta said.
They are also deprived of voting rights during detention and parole, in contrast to many Western countries where prisoners are entitled to vote by proxy.
"Detention should be accepted as a punishment for their crimes, but deprivation of voting rights goes beyond that. It violates their freedom of thought and conscience," Kikuta said.
To all you
GNU Click here to see all messages by GNU (Sep 2 2002 - 12:42)
who advocate the sort of conditions that you'll find in a Japanese prison, I'll tell you this. Anyone could be arrested and banged up for 23 days in a country that, along with the USA and half a dozen others, would not ratify any accords on torture. People die in these detention centres all the time, but that's an aside. At the end of 23 days, you are pushed into a court system with no jury and a 99.7% conviction rate. The prisons are so bad, that they are vurtually never shown on TV, in the news etc. There are hardly any pictures of these places. I really hope that none of you people are dumb enough to ride around on a bike that's registered to someone else!