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In several cases, the courts have acknowledged that confessions were forced and ordered prisoners released.
The Japanese courts have had conviction rates that exceeded 99% in the past but that number has been curtailed in recent history due to changes in Japanese law.
Article 36 of the Constitution forbids "the infliction of torture by any public officer and cruel punishments", and article 195 of the Penal Code states that public officers who inflict violence on or abuse suspects, an accused person or anyone else for the purpose of their official duty including criminal investigation are punishable and article 196 demands that such acts be penalized with a heavier sentence than otherwise.
However, reports by Japanese bar associations, human rights groups, and some prisoners indicated such physical abuse, which they often do not report, takes place in regard to the treatment of illegal immigrants.
New data suggests the trend isn't poised to let up anytime soon.
The authorities reported they had lost the documentation on nine deaths in Tokyo's Fuchu Prison.
Prisoners were not allowed to purchase or receive supplementary food.
While death records are kept for 10 years, many of them were missing, which sparked an ongoing review of the prison system. In some institutions, two inmates were placed in cells designed for one inmate, and thirty or sixty in cells meant for 15.
In common law countries which practice trial by jury, this is seen as an indication that defendants are not receiving a fair trial.
In civil law countries, where a magistrate decides the verdict, it is common because both the defense and the prosecutor can reliably predict the outcome of the trial.