Prison Conditions in Japan

Prisoners in Japan face routine violations of human rights from the moment of arrest through the end of their prison term. After being apprehended, Japanese suspects are placed in police detention (daiyo-kangoku) where they face severe pressure, often involving physical abuse, in order to obtain confessions. They are transferred to detention centers after indictment where they stay until their sentencing, a period that can last several years. They are then moved to prisons where they are subjected to a complex set of rules that regulates every aspect of daily life. Infraction means punishment, and one of the most common forms of punishment is prolonged solitary confinement. Prisoners who complain about their treatment may face particular abuse or retaliation. Sentenced prisoners have tightly restricted access to legal counsel and to contact with the outside world, and death row prisoners sometimes spend decades in total isolation.
   Human Rights Watch calls on the Japanese government to bring its treatment of prisoners into line with the international human rights law by which the country is bound and acknowledge that prisoners have both obligations and rights.

(1460) 3/95, 112 pp., ISBN 1-56432-146-0, $10.00/£8.95

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