Tag Archives: govinda prasad mainali

Japan’s greatest journalist has written another article

And we even get an indirect (very indirect) mention! It’s an inaccurate and poorly thrown-together article, I feel, with an over-reliance on cut’n’paste’n’massage.

Japan held innocent foreigner 15 years

The headline is usually written by the sub-editor, but Govinda Prasad Mainali is still guilty from a legal point of view.

Tokyo High Court ruled that new DNA evidence cleared him of involvement in a 1997 murder for which he had been imprisoned.

No it didn’t.

Human rights activists said Japanese authorities moved quickly to deport Mr. Mainali to deter him from seeking compensation for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment. They are demanding that Japan compensate him, overhaul the country’s justice system, and punish prosecutors and judges.

Surely "Random commenters on foreigner-oriented blogs"?

The conviction rate for suspects tops 99 percent with foreigners at particular risk, critics say.

Well, these critics are wrong – it’s 99% for those sent to trial – and even if they are right, 99.9%, for instance, is not particularly more risky than 99.0%.

Let’s skip the Mr Arudou bit, and consider the sentence quoting Gopal Krishna Siwakoti, which seems closely related to this Japan Today sentence:

Describing the case as the “trial of the century in terms of migrant workers”, Siwakoti said Mainali’s case showed that a “xenophobic attitude was entrenched in Japanese judicial system”.

And the next sentence reflects the headline and this portion of another Japan Today story:

"Saving face," declares the daily, "is more important to the prosecution than human rights."


Even so-called "Japan apologists" have spoken out against "induced confessions," harsh imprisonment and costly deportation of more than 100,000 foreigners over the past decade.

Who are these so-called apologists? I cannot find on Google any relevant mention of the literal phrase "induced confessions", and I’ve never heard anyone on either side complain about the cost of deporting people, although I suspect that if I waded through Mr Johnson’s blog I might find him going on about that. And doesn’t that sentence imply that 100,000 foreigners have confessed and been harshly imprisoned?

There’s also something that doesn’t feel quite right about the Charles McJilton section, but I think this will do for now.

Terrie takes an inaccurate look at Govinda Prasad Mainali

As discussed earlier here, Govinda Prasad Mainali has been granted a retrial. Terrie Lloyd’s Terrie’s Takes newsletter decided to cover it, but reading the content it is not what I would expect from a respected Japan expert like Mr Lloyd, but instead it feels more like he delegated the article to his Japan Today "reporters".

Further, the conviction rate of foreigner suspects (you definitely don’t want to be one) is a foregone conclusion,

The 99%+ conviction rate of people brought before the courts indicates that it is also a foregone conclusion for Japanese suspects. However, is he suggesting that there is a higher rate for foreigners from arrest to conviction when compared to Japanese? The paper "Why Is the Japanese Conviction Rate So High?" from 1999 seems to be the definitive study of this matter but doesn’t examine the nationality of suspects. I suspect the above quote is an opinion, not a fact, although I welcome any data one way or the other.

There are a number of recorded cases where the courts have actually SAID there has been insufficient evidence for an ordinary conviction, but none-the-less have convicted the defendant anyway, simply because the prosecutors said they did it.

Are we still talking about foreigners? The above could very well refer to the recent lay judge conviction of Kanae Kijima on circumstantial evidence. She also had an online fan club, but there was less reporting of it in the English-language press as it is not as juicy a detail as Tatsuya Ichihashi’s one.

The abuse of this system became so bad that several years ago new laws were pushed through that now require prosecutors to record their interrogation interviews.

No, it’s still only applicable in certain cases and doesn’t apply to all of the interrogation process; it is certainly not "required".

In particular, we feel that his is a case where his race and foreignness played a large part in how he was treated.

This is indeed how I feel too, and no doubt many Japanese do too.

In 2000 his case was thrown out by the Tokyo District Court for lack of evidence.

No, he was found not guilty. Thrown out implies it was cancelled half-way through. Incidentally, if it were thrown out rather than having a verdict handed down, in English law at least the prosecution can in many circumstances appeal that decision.

At that point, if he was a Japanese he would have been let go, but because the outstanding deportation order, the Prosecutor’s office successfully had him kept in jail while they appealed to a higher court.

This conflates two or even three issues – if it had been a Japanese person there may also have been an appeal by the prosecution, but the Japanese person would have had a higher chance of getting bail.

In our opinion, the first step in getting Japan to address the obvious inequalities towards foreigners in the legal system is to pass a law making prosecutors who hide/withhold evidence open to legal charges themselves.

I agree, but I don’t see how the two are connected – prosecutors seem quite adept at hiding evidence in Japanese cases too. Is there data to suggest that evidence is hidden more when the defendants are foreign?

We’re not sure why Mainali wasn’t put on the death row

Sigh! If you don’t know why he wasn’t you are ignorant of how death sentences are handed down in Japan.