SITYS: MH Fox translation: “Gangsters and foreigners have no rights”, book excerpt by former J prosecutor Ichikawa Hiroshi Ichikawa on


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Hi Blog.  As mentioned before on in 2011 and in book “Embedded Racism in Japan“, Japan’s judiciary trains its law enforcement that human and civil rights do not apply to foreign residents.  Here’s more on that from the person who exposed that, Ichikawa Hiroshi.  SITYS.  Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

“Gangsters and foreigners have no rights”
by Hiroshi Ichikawa (former prosecutor).
Translated by Michael H. Fox
Japan Innocence and Death Penalty Information Center

A translation of Chapter 2 (Yakuza to gaikokujin ni jinken wa nai ) from the book Kenji Shikkaku ( A Prosecutor Debarred ) by Hiroshi Ichikawa. Published by Mainichi Shinbunsha, 2012.  Copyright, 2019-Japan Innocence and Death Penalty Information Center, excerpt reprinted on with kind permission.

Translator’s Introduction:

Hiroshi Ichikawa was born in Kanagawa in 1965. In 1990, he passed the notoriously difficult national bar exam after graduating from Chuo University. Those who pass the exam then serve a two year judicial apprenticeship and work along judges, prosecutors and attorneys. At the end of this period, the apprentice can decide, for the most part, to become a lawyer, prosecutor, or judge.

“A Prosecutor Debarred” is the tale of a young idealistic jurist whose career began with a commitment to fairness and justice. This is finely demonstrated when Ichikawa anxiously consults a superior after forgetting to advise a suspect of the right to silence during investigation.

Some years later, Ichikawa would become mercilessly violent. In 2000, he was working in Saga prefecture in Kyushu, and undertook investigation of a financial scandal involving the Saga city Co-op. While interrogating a recalcitrant suspect, Ichikawa became enraged. He would later be called to testify in court, and admit on the stand to screaming “You lousy SOB. I’ll beat you to death!” in the face of a suspect.

The event was widely broadcast in the media. The suspect was tried and found not guilty in both the court of first instance, and the appeals case. Ichikawa would later be dismissed as a prosecutor, but allowed to continue to practice law, hence ‘debarred’ and not ‘disbarred.’ He performed a dogeza, a deep bow on hands and knees, in public, to the former defendant who was found not guilty. Until recently, this was viewable on YouTube.

This chapter begins with Ichikawa’s first day on the job at the Yokohama prosecutor’s office. In Japan, the fiscal year, the employment year, and the school year begin in April.

“Gangsters and foreigners have no rights”

Rest at

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2 comments on “SITYS: MH Fox translation: “Gangsters and foreigners have no rights”, book excerpt by former J prosecutor Ichikawa Hiroshi Ichikawa on


    Some excerpts from Michael H. Fox’s translation of former Japan Prosecutor Hiroshi Ichikawa’s admittances:

    My supervisor fearlessly stated, “This is how to do the confession.” I wanted so say, “That’s unreasonable. That’s not true.” But as a newbie, I just could not.

    No matter how weird I thought this all, I could not bring myself to say, “That’s wrong!” This was my biggest problem as a prosecutor. And all this occurring while I was still in the infancy of my appointment.

    Anyway, at this time, I did not give it any deep thought, and just sought a confession as my supervisor instructed.

    My supervisor fervently espoused that at each and every opportunity, “getting a suspect to confess is the most important thing.” And once he added, “Since becoming a prosecutor, I have gotten a confession from every single suspect! Getting them to confess is the first step toward rehabilitation.”

    I really wanted to chime in, ‘Huh, that can’t be right?’ But toward my senior colleague with more than 20 years experience, I just could not do it.

    Another time, I had an important lesson from my supervisor. After downing a couple beers, upon recovering his sobriety, he blurted out, “gangsters and foreigners have no rights! Once when I interrogated a foreign suspect, who didn’t speak Japanese. I stuck my eyeleteer in his face and screamed abuse. And I got the confession!”

    And then he stated with a snide look, “Incidentally, whenever we close the records of a case, the office staff always punches a hole with the eyeleteer. So there is always one in the prosecutors room.”

    He said all this with a straight face, and I had no idea of how to respond. All I could say was a “huh?”

    “Yeah, we have suspects who give us the runaround. You know what I do. I get in their faces and scream, “Get up and face the wall! And then I get back to work. After they have stood for sometime, I ask, ‘You feel like talking now?’ Follow this process and you will get a confession.”

    Words bubbled up in my throat, “why did you go so far in forcing a confession? Uh…I see..forcing a confession is the first step in rehabilitation. Yeah ….but…” I was completely in a haze.

    “Do you know why you can’t make a report without a confession? If you create a document in which the suspect denies the crime, the attorney will refute the charges in court. But if you get a document with a confession, when the attorney and the suspect first meet, the attorney will start with ‘Why did you do it?’ If you do this properly, there will be no denial in court. Therefore, you absolutely need to get a confession and include it in your report.”

    I also learned how to get around the rules. “Ya know, when I was young, I had many more cases than now…so many that my eyes were spinning. One time, I had a murder case, and I was unable to finish even at the 20 day custody expiry date. So I requested a psychiatric report (in which the suspect is moved from the police station cell to the detention center or a hospital, and over the period of a long time, the psychiatrist conducts an examination). I was able to get a 2-3 month extension!

    Translator’s note (Michael H. Fox): Upon reading this chapter, I excitedly started translating with the intent of publication in the Asia-Pacific Journal, perhaps the best resource for honest journalistic and academic discourse about Japan. APJ refused this piece without reason. “We’re interested in legal issues but decided that it is not for APJ.” I was shocked. … Do the title and contents of this translation impugn the self-concept of … foreign academics who wish to think that ‘we foreigners’ should be grateful guests … without complaint?

    This is not the first time my voice has been obstructed by the foreign academia in Japan. Some years ago, I submitted a a roundtable proposal on criminal justice reform to the Association of Asian Studies conference at Sophia University. The conference organizer refused the proposal, “we believe that our conference is designed for academic study and debate, rather than for advocacy.” Once again, ‘guestism’ at work. See Ivan Hall’s “Sidelining the Heterodox.” :

    • Kudos to Mr. Fox’s translation!

      I was even more fascinated by the extract of Ivan Hall’s book mentioned at the end: how criticism is silenced by the establishment in Japan, no only from inside but from outside too.

      Democracies thrive on transparency, improvement and “the wisdom of the crowds” (great book by James Surowiecki, subtitled: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations).
      I don’t see anything positive coming out of silencing and self-censorship in the long run.


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