Hirano Ryūichi, Diagnosis of the Current Code of Criminal Procedure, 22 Law in Japan: An Annual 129 (1989), Daniel H. Foote (translator)
Approximately 35 years have passed since the current Code of Criminal Procedure went into effect, and today the manner in which that Code is interpreted and applied appears nearly stable. In truth, for most of the provisions and systems under the current Code about which there had been many questions of interpretation and application (e.g., interpretation of the provisions concerning hearsay evidence, discovery, exclusion of illegally-obtained evidence, and abuse of the authority to prosecute), some sort of conclusion (ichid no ketsuron) has been reached. In that sense, matters have "stabilized." However, in my view much more deep-seated problems remain unresolved. In fact, the troubled state of criminal procedure in Japan has been brought to light recently by the various retrial cases, and the debate over criminal justice has been renewed in connection with the revision of the so-called "Prison Law" (kangokuh6). Compared with the law of criminal procedure in the United States and Europe-which we may think of as the "cultural level" (bunkateki suijun), Japan's current Code of Criminal Procedure is rather abnormal, even diseased (byoteki). What, then, are the abnormal, diseased aspects? Let me give you my own personal diagnosis.