Certain of Guilt
When formal charges are eventually pressed, there is a two-month period of pre-trial detention, renewable by one month at a time by appeal to the court.
Former prosecutor Yasuyuki Takai told AFP that the system operates in this way so authorities only charge suspects they are absolutely sure are guilty.
“Imagine that 30 or 40 percent of people were found not guilty during a trial. The public would ask why so many innocent people were being charged,” Takai told AFP, adding that courts have increasingly been granting bail.
The Ghosn case, however, “proves that there are easy escape routes for wealthy people with backing who want to flee overseas, no matter how strictly courts impose bail conditions”, said Tsunehiko Maeda, a former prosecutor.
“We can expect prosecutors to oppose future bail requests much more robustly.”
Critics including rights groups such as Amnesty International have derided Japan’s system as “hostage justice”, designed to break morale and force confessions from suspects.