Punishing foreigners, exonerating Japanese

Debito Arudou sees growing evidence of judicial double standards

If you’re a foreigner facing Japan’s criminal justice system, you can be questioned without probable cause on the street by police, apprehended for “voluntary questioning” in a foreign language, incarcerated perpetually while in litigation, and treated differently in jurisprudence than a Japanese.

Statistics bear this out. According to [Professor David T.] Johnson [author of “The Japanese Way of Justice”], 10 percent of all trials in Japan had foreign defendants in 2000. Considering that non-Japanese residents back then were 1.3 percent of the Japanese population, and foreign crime (depending on how you calculate it) ranged between 1 and 4 percent of the total, you have a disproportionate number of foreigners behind bars in Japan.

Feeling paranoid? Don’t. Just don’t believe the bromide that Japanese are a “peaceful, law-abiding people by nature.” They’re actually scared stiff of the police and the public prosecutor. So should you be. For until official government policy changes to make Japan more receptive to immigration, non-Japanese will be treated as a social problem and policed as such.