In April, the National Police Agency of Japan announced their decision to introduce partial recording and videotaping of interrogations on a trial basis across the country from this fiscal year. The Public Prosecutors Office announced the launch of such practices from April. The NPA had been reluctant to record and videotape interrogations, but their decision was turned around to establish effective measures to prove the voluntary nature of confession in trials where Saiban-in (lay judges) system is used. This trial will be started in the Metropolitan Police Department and other major police offices.
With regard to interrogations by the police, the Human Rights Committee and the UN Committee against Torture recommended in their final reports to record and videotape all interrogations in order to prevent confession under duress. However at this time, recording and videotaping are considered as one of the means to prove the voluntary nature of confession in trials handled by Saiban-in system, in which the voluntary nature of the confession can be a point of argument. As with the practice conducted by the prosecutors, the official record would be taken when the police read the record of their oral statements in front of the suspect, and the suspect confirms by signing and applying the seal. (16 April 2008)
·Partial Recording and Videotaping on a Trial Basis by the Police
·Consideration of Reports Submitted by Japan under Article 40 of the Covenant: Concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
·Conclusion and Recommendation of the Committee against Torture (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
"Prosecution Introduces Partial Recording and Videotaping of Interrogation on a Full Scale" (Hurights Osaka News in Brief March 2008)
"Guidelines for Ensuring Appropriate Interrogations in Police Investigations" (Hurights Osaka News in Brief January 2008)