Friday, June 15, 2012

What Is The Opposite Of "No News Is Good News"?

- Police catch up with Takahashi Katsuya in a Kamata manga coffee house. (Link - E)

Now come the questions:

Since Takahashi and Kikuchi Naoko successfully reintegrated themselves into society, with Kikuchi serving as a professional eldercare attendant, will a national conversation begin on the possibility of personal redemption, even after one commits heinous crimes?

Will doubt seep in regarding the guilt of the eleven followers of the Aum Shinrikyo sect now sitting on death row, that perhaps their mental competence, when inside the cult, was compromised, preventing them from having the ability to make rational decisions about right and wrong?

Will a discussion arise about the propriety of the death penalty, the issuance of which makes Japan an outlier among OECD countries with similar political and social systems?

- The Ozawa-hostile Shukan Bunshun drops a bomb on top of Ozawa Ichiro. (Link - E)

Ay caramba! Unless the purportedly former Mrs. Ozawa comes forth soon to either authenticate or repudiate the published letter and its contents, we are in for a very tense next few days.

- Oh, and that combined pension and tax systems thing, supposedly on the cliff's edge? The mainstream media is now reporting that an agreement on the sheaf of bills is just awaiting the relevant party officers' signatures -- with the kicker that the New Komeito may part ways with the LDP over the agreement. (Link - J)

Later - As regards the first story and the series of questions I ask, I am not holding my breath. "Hang'em high," has a powerful grip upon the national psyche.


Avery said...

I don't think the Japanese justice system is about rehabilitation at all. Remember, you don't get any years off for showing you are rehabilitated, but you do get years off for crying and apologizing in front of the judge. In living a fugitive life for so long, these people demonstrated no remorse and will be punished accordingly.

MTC said...

Avery -

The Japanese justice system is amorphous, even in the event of conviction. Inflicting punishment in retribution for crimes committed, yes. However, there also seems to be an attempt to inculcate self-discipline and absolute obedience to authority during the convicted's stay in prison. Whether the latter constitutes a program of rehabilitation is a matter of dispute.

As for the fugitives, that they reentered society under assumed identies, becoming regular citizens, will definitely come up in the judge's determination of a sentence, particularly if they plead guilty to all charges, expressing extreme regret for their roles in Aum's spree of terrorist acts and killings.

The trio of longtime fugitives have already gone some of the distance necessary to show remorse. Hirata, though he had spent the entire time in hiding, made his earnest and madcap attempts to turn himself in on New Year's Eve. Kikuchi and Takahashi both identified themselves when approached by police, with Kikuchi agreeing with a police officer when the officer asked "Isn't better now, now that it is over?"

Joe said...

Even so, the little bit I've heard on the subject from the people around them is that, "If they're sorry for what they've done, they should have turned themselves in years ago." Especially in light of Takahashi's attempted run, prosecutors will most likely argue that he does not feel remorse, and the I imagine the lay/pro judges will buy that.

Anonymous said...

I'd have thought the Minali case exerts a stronger case against the death penalty in Japan than this one. It was obvious for almost a decade before Minali's release that he was innocent (fortunate he didn't get the noose, then), plus it was yet another example of how suspects in Japan are bullied into confessions which are the only thing that's required for a conviction. On top of that, we have several recent examples of prosecutors faking confessions or tampering with evidence. Quite a way to die if you're innocent.