Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section J. Compelling accused persons to testify against themselves or to confess guilt
Japan’s Code of Criminal Procedure (1948), as amended in 2006, states: “Any person may refuse to give testimony when there is the fear that such testimony may result in his/her criminal prosecution or conviction.”
In 2007, in its fifth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Japan stated:
158. The Constitution provides that “no person shall be compelled to testify against himself/herself” (art. 38, para. 1). The Code of Criminal Procedure gives the suspect the right to refuse testimony and provides that, at the time of the interview, the suspect shall be notified in advance that he/she is not required to make a statement against his/her own will (art. 198, para. 2).
161. Clearly, such interview methods as coercion, torture, and intimidation are not permitted. Interviews conducted in such a manner that would cast doubts on the voluntary nature of the testimony of the suspect are not permitted either. The Code of Criminal Procedure stipulates that any confession … which is suspected of not having been made voluntarily shall not be used as evidence (art. 319, para. 1). Furthermore, it provides that any deposition or written statement, including admission of facts adverse to the defendant’s interests, which may not have been made voluntarily shall not be used as evidence (art. 322, para. 1). If a dispute arises in a public trial concerning the voluntary nature or reliability of the testimony, the public prosecutor bears the burden of proof as to these issues, and the determination of these issues is left to the court.