Mainichi: “UK won’t extradite man over Tokyo jewelry heist, cites Japan’s human rights record”. Looks like Japan’s reputation for “hostage justice” is gaining ground


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Hi Blog. Looks like Japan’s reputation for human rights abuses under its “Hostage Justice” criminal procedure is finally being recognized in legal circles overseas. Carlos Ghosn is no doubt having the last laugh. (Just wait until the latest documentary on his case comes out in a couple of weeks on Apple TV–in addition to this one, this one, and this one). Debito Arudou, Ph.D.

UK won’t extradite man over Tokyo jewelry heist, cites Japan’s human rights record
August 12, 2023 (Mainichi Japan) Courtesy of Niklas and MMT

LONDON (Kyodo) — A British court has ruled that one of three men detained over his alleged involvement in a 2015 jewelry robbery at a luxury store in central Tokyo will not be extradited to Japan, citing concerns over the country’s human rights record.

Friday’s decision not to extradite Joe Chappell, who is currently on bail, was based on the grounds that the Japanese authorities could not provide “sufficient assurances” that he would be treated in compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The three men — Chappell, Daniel Kelly and Kaine Wright — left Japan two days after the heist, which netted 106 million yen ($731,000) worth of jewelry. They were put on an international wanted list by Japanese police through Interpol.

Chappell’s defense team has expressed concerns that if extradited, he might be made to confess under duress. Japan has argued that police interrogations in principle are recorded.

At a hearing earlier this year, British authorities asked the Japanese government to ensure his detention complies with the convention, particularly on provisions regarding prohibition of torture and the right to a fair trial.

Japan currently only has extradition treaties with the United States and South Korea. In the absence of an extradition treaty, the country where a crime was committed usually asks a suspect’s home country to prosecute.

The three are suspected of taking 46 pieces of jewelry, including rings and pendants after punching a male security guard and breaking display cases at a Harry Winston store in the Omotesando Hills commercial complex in Shibuya Ward on the night of Nov. 20, 2015.

The court has yet to rule on whether to extradite the other two, Kelly and Wright.

Japanese authorities have 14 days to appeal the decision, and another hearing will take place later this month to determine whether the case will continue. ENDS

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11 comments on “Mainichi: “UK won’t extradite man over Tokyo jewelry heist, cites Japan’s human rights record”. Looks like Japan’s reputation for “hostage justice” is gaining ground

  • That’s good news in principle, but I’m wondering if the Japanese authorities won’t retaliate by making life harder for all us Brits living in Japan.

    —- If we’re going to live in fear like this, we can’t expect gaiatsu to ever have any effect. When it’s in fact been historically one of the most impactful forces for social change in Japan. I suggest not overthinking it.

  • “Joe Chappell, Daniel Kelly and Kaine Wright are alleged to have posed as a customers to gain entry to the store in 2015, with one of them punching a security guard and injuring his face, the court was told.
    The trio allegedly made off with jewelry valued at 106,272,000 yen – about £630,000 – and were later identified as suspects by Japanese police.”
    They must be laughing all the way to the bank if the can escape being extradited. They violently stole the jewelry so why should they escape justice? Violating their human rights in this case is just a lawyer’s stalling ploy.

  • From the article: “Japan has argued that police interrogations in principle are recorded”

    Well, ‘in principle’, you can have all my money. (In actual fact, you can’t). And also, even if recorded, no one outside the police would be allowed to view it.

    We have become wise to the cheap word games of the Japanese authorities. They cannot be trusted. If there is anyone out there who still thinks that the late declaration of war only after the pearl harbor bombing started was an accident, you have had the wool pulled over your eyes.

  • Japan’s isolationism has really come home to roost; it cuts both ways. Natch, they would not want to have to extradite Japanese to other countries, with disgusting cannibal Issei Sagawa one prime example, along with the spotty enforcement of the Hague Convention (Why I will never have children with a Japanese).

    Ditto Alberto Fujimori.

    Japan has been a safe haven for these criminals, so this- and Carlos Ghosn- is but a very mild Karmic and well deserved comeback for them.

    Its a great example of how Japan should not be considered in the “western” camp at all and frankly, along with Russia, should have been expelled from the G7 IMHO.

    • I almost completely agree with what you just wrote above, Baud: Japan should be expelled from the G7 because the LDP run government has consistently proven the Japanese male stereotype of “wanting one’s cake and eat it too.” In my 30 years of living here, I am convinced Japan will never truly “compromise” to become international.

      • Well, the one clear compromise and “progress” we have seen is the younger generation mostly accepting “haafu” as a kind of honorary Japanese and defending them against the occasional Oyaji trying to “other” them as “foreigners”. However, their NJ parent just has to lump it and suffer no rights and less opportunities for the sake of the kids.

        Also this is not satisfactory as it depends purely on the arbrtary goodwill of Japanese individuals and not the Rule of Law (as usual).

        So ultimately it remains to be seen if “haafu” are going to stick around and “contribute”(work/slave for) to Japan or help its demographic crisis, when they may have better opportunities abroad….. Some, maybe.

  • MOJ response to the UN criticism, and my comments in italics.

    Source text:

    The following shows that the facts found to be erroneous.
    (1) The opinion that, following his arrests, defendant Ghosn, was held for periods of 22 days, 10 days, 19 days and 21 days respectively without being brought before a judge.
      In the proceedings conducted in accordance with the provisions of Japanese law, it is a fact that during each of his four detentions, defendant Ghosn was promptly brought before a judge who had received a request for his detention.

    Q. Was Mr. Ghosn’s defense counsel also present and allowed to make representations to the court on his behalf? How often are requests for incarceration by public prosecutors denied by a judge, in general? What about in cases concerning non-Japanese people?

    (2) The opinion that the provision of opportunities for defendant Ghosn to challenge his detention before a court was delayed.
      Defendant Ghosn was entitled under Japanese law to file an appeal against a decision or a request to rescind the detention any time after his detention, and in fact he did file his quasi-appeals on the same days as the decisions on his detention were rendered.

    Q. None of his “quasi appeals” were allowed were they? How many “quasi appeals” are allowed in general? What about in cases concerning non-Japanese people?

    (3) The opinion that the repeated arrests of defendant Ghosn were abuses of process, the second and third arrests of defendant Ghosn, were intended to circumvent the time limit for police custody, there was significant doubt as to the lawfulness of police custody following his second and third arrests.
      Each of defendant Ghosn’s four arrests and detentions were made respectively for four different alleged facts, each of them passing strict judicial reviews. In other words, in each of defendant Ghosn’s four cases of arrests and detentions, each time, a judge, who is independent of investigative authorities, issued an arrest warrant and a detention warrant based on his/her finding that requirements for arrest and detention are met and that the arrest and detention would not be unjustifiable re-arrests or re-detentions, after carefully examining each of the alleged facts, which differ in terms of dates/time and the elements of the crime concerned. Therefore, none of the arrests and detentions were made in order to circumvent a time limit, none amount to abuse of process, and there is no doubt of their lawfulness.

    Q. In the west it is recognized that treating each criminal charge separately is a deliberate tactic to prolong the period of detention and prosecutors can be reprimanded for doing so as it is an obvious tactic to wear down the accused. We understand that these underhanded tactics are allowed under Japanese law. We merely ask whether you think they are underhanded?

      In addition, the location where defendant Ghosn was detained was the Tokyo Detention House, which is independent from any investigative authority. If the allegation of “police custody” means defendant Ghosn was detained at the police detention facility, it is a clear factual mistake.

    Q. Are you seriously making the point that one form of detention is very different from another form of detention, and that the difference is an important matter from Ghosn’s viewpoint?

    (4) The opinion that the process of arresting and detaining defendant Ghosn four times was fundamentally unfair, as it prevented him from enjoying other fair trial rights, including to freely communicate with legal counsel.
      Under Japanese law, suspects who are arrested and detained have the right to speak with their defense counsel privately without any official being present. During his custody, with the exception of Sundays and New Year’s Day (January 1), for instance, defendant Ghosn met with his defense counsels almost every day without the presence of any official, including detention center officials and investigation agency officials. Frequently, the same or different defense counsels met with defendant Ghosn multiple times in the same day. Moreover, it should be noted that defendant Ghosn’s time with the defense counsels was never restricted at the Tokyo Detention House.

    Q. Can the suspects speak in the language of their choosing? Were officials listening or recording the conversations?

    (5) The opinion that defendant Ghosn was detained in conditions that compromised his ability to effectively defend himself, including the deprivation of exercise, constant lighting, and the absence of heating.
      In general, detainees are given the opportunity to exercise on weekdays, outdoors as much as possible, for more than 30 minutes a day, and for as long as possible. Especially in the Tokyo Detention House where defendant Ghosn was arrested and detained, in addition to outdoor exercise, there was time available for indoor physical exercises twice a day (15 minutes each), everyday including on holidays.
      Moreover, the expression in the Opinion suggesting that constant lighting at the Tokyo Detention House interfered with defendant Ghosn’s sleep is quite misleading since the Detention House only has night-lights that are lit to the extent that the officials can see inside the rooms during bed time hours.
      Furthermore, at the Tokyo Detention House, all detention rooms are equipped with air-conditioning with heating ability throughout the building.

    Q. What you think is reasonable lighting might be too bright for other people. Given that the public prosecutors do not want Ghosn to be comfortable it is no stretch of the imagination to expect they had strong lighting. Further, equipping a room with air-conditioning does not mean they were turned on or effective.

    (6) The opinion that defendant Ghosn was detained in circumstances in which he was effectively forced to provide statements.
      The Constitution of Japan prescribes that no person shall be compelled to testify against himself and Japanese law stipulates that the suspect must be notified in advance that said person is not required to make a statement against said person’s will in the case of the interrogation. In defendant Ghosn’s case, he was also informed of his right to remain silent during the prosecutor’s interrogation.

    Q. Despite The Constitution of Japan, it has occurred that suspects have been compelled to confess, hasn’t it? The police have shown that they are quite creative in obtaining confessions.

      The interrogations of defendant Ghosn that were conducted were all recorded by audio and video from the beginning to the end. During this process, defendant Ghosn denied the facts of the crime, challenged the prosecutor, or remained silent, and it is apparent that he was speaking very freely.
      In addition, as mentioned above, defendant Ghosn was able to and did meet and consult with his defense counsel almost every day.
     Therefore, it is clear that a situation in which defendant Ghosn was forced to provide written statements does not exist.

    Q. Can the public or Ghosn’s lawyers have access to those recordings?

    3. For this reason’s above, it is deemed that the Opinion includes numerous factual errors.

    Q. The “numerous factual errors” are inconsequential, as is shown above.

    • This is just sooo Japan. “Are you seriously making the point that one form of detention is very different from another form of detention, and that the difference is an important matter from Ghosn’s viewpoint?”

      The Narcissism of Small Differences” or nit picking, applied to detention of foreigners. What next, Japanese radiation being different from other radiation? Oh, wait…..


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