International Crime Witness: An analysis of a crime witnessed in Japan, legal and law enforcement systems
Japan is the tenth most populated country in the world. Currently, according to the 2010 Japan population census held by the Statistics Bureau of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the country has approximately 128million people with a population density of 1500 people per square kilometre (CIA, 2014). Apart from that, only 5% of Japan’s population are engaged in agricultural activities, the rest are urbanised and live the city life. For this reason, the rates of crime are high because high-populated regions usually encourage criminal activities to take place. High population of the elderly with wealth and a few youth with no wealth encourage the latter to engage in criminal activities to earn a living.
A larger population of Japan does not comprise of the native; instead, Chinese foreigners (majority) and a few Africans, which have influences the social environment of Japan making it commonly known for criminal activities. Non-native Japanese especially from china are known for engaging in organised crimes. Many of the foreigners have established permanent residents in Japan and even acquired citizenship, a move that have influenced the social way of living of the natives in terms of morals. Apart from that, the increased social inequality among the elderly wealthy population and the young poor population contribute immensely to the increased number of crime rates.
The liberal democratic government considers the country as a member of the free world and that it should engage with other countries such as America. This policy relates to the peace treaty signed in San Francisco in 1951. On the other hand, the socialist party, the leading opposition party demands that Japan should not adopt the policy of operating in a free world. These inter party ideological conflicts have contributed to emerging conflicts of Japan with China, which has also incorporated other countries such as Korea, Vietnam. The two conflicting political parties have influenced the decision to revise the constitution to fit each ideology of the strong party, a move that is causing more conflicts (Kishi, 2012). With regard to this, many foreigners entering Japan have a perceived mind that political conflicts cause disharmony and conflicts among the Japanese; hence, increased rates of crime.
Although 71% of Japan residents are employed, only half of this figure works on permanent basis because most of the work is seasonal and contractual. Apart from that, those working as permanent staff are those with long periods of working experience. This situation implies that the young population and not economically capable of maintaining the high standards of living in Japan. For this reason, the compliment their remuneration with crime to ensure they sustain their lives. The increased number of immigrants especially from China, because of political conflicts with the latter, they are not given citizenship; therefore, a majority cannot engage in meaningful economic activities that can earn them a living.
After observing a local Japanese national commit a criminal act of assault, the local police did not take the matter seriously. It has been noted that, the rates of crime are high in Japan because the judicial system administers justice discriminatively. According to the societal setting and cultural background of the Japanese, they prioritize male people at the expense of women and favour natives at the expense of foreigners. This inherent societal culture has perverse the corridors of justice systems and that it has influence justice system.
Considering that, the victim was a woman (most likely a foreigner) and the aggressor was a native Japanese man, the police did arrest the aggressor, but did not follow the right legal procedures. Accordingly, the Japanese legal system does not have standardized sentences for particular offenses, making it a sole decision of judicial officers to sentence victims at their own discretion. After being taken to court for having committed sex assault, the defendant denied the charges and was acquitted for lack of evidence. The Japanese legal system and indeed the society has been known for discriminating against women foreigners who are prone to experiencing antisocial crimes committed against them without getting legal redress from the Japanese Judicial system and law enforcement agencies. According to article 248 of the Japanese constitution, the judicial officer can fail to prosecute a case even if there is enough evidence surrounding the case (Goodman, 2008). Such a legal provision explains the rationale behind the discriminatory administration of justice in the judicial system of Japan.
Compared to America, Japan legal provisions are strict on “search and seizure.” This means that, unlike in America where the courts makes an order before a suspect is searched or seized; law enforcement in Japan have the right to search and arrest anyone without getting court orders. For this reason, Japan has recorded low gun-related deaths compared to America. Having the support of the power to search and make arrest without court orders, the Japanese government have ensured that goods entering its ports and airports are scrutinized to ensure that there are no illegal weapons or drugs that could be smuggled in the country (Goodman, 2008).
In countries such as America where suspects enjoy the right to legal counsel that would protect suspects from interrogations, Japan has no such privilege. Although the legal system allows suspects to seek the help of legal counsel, suspects are not protected from interrogations or attending legal sessions. This is provided by article 38 of the constitution of Japan which provides that suspects have the right to answer questions and respond accordingly with respect to the demands of judicial systems; legal counsels only advise, but do not protect suspects.
Police in Japan would treat suspects based on their race, nationality, and gender. There is no equality in law enforcement agencies. The rationale behind it is explained by the country’s political, cultural and social situation, which discriminates against women (especially foreigners), and non-native Japans (Miyazawa, 1992). A native Japan man would be treated with favour compared to a non-native Japan man upon committing the same felony. Additionally, women would be treated discriminatively compared to men because of their male-hegemonic culture. Apart from that, it is known that the level of corruption in the law enforcement systems in Japan is higher; hence, providing a situation where law, order, and justice are not administered equally, but based on race, gender, and nationality.
Just like in United States, police in Japan are corrupt and would opt to favour wealthy suspects at the expense of poor suspects from minority groups, this culture in indoctrinated based on cultural values of the host countries. Apart from that, all law enforcement agencies favour natives as compared to foreigners especially during service delivery. The striking difference between these two police forces in America and Japan is legal punishment given to rogue police in Japan is severe compared to that given to police officers in America who have committed the same offense (Goodman, 2008). The degree of police loyalty to their country is higher to police officers compared to police officers in America. This means that a police officer in America can easily collaborate with criminals and commit a crime, but police officers in japan could be reluctant because of the love their have for their country and fellow citizens.
CIA. (2014, March 11). Japan. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved May 13, 2014, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ja.html
Goodman, C. F. (2008). The rule of law in Japan: a comparative analysis (2nd rev. ed.). Alphen aan den Rijn, The Netherlands: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business ;.
Kishi, N. (2012, April 16). Political Movements in Japan. Global. Retrieved May 15, 2014, from http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/23739/nobusuke-kishi/political-movements-in-japan
Miyazawa, S. (1992). Policing in Japan: a study on making crime. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.