Police to form national center for DNA analysis

December 31,2009

The National Police Agency will create a national-level center specializing in DNA analysis during the year from April in an effort to improve its scientific evidence database system, agency sources said Wednesday.

The NPA will establish the center at the National Research Institute of Police Science in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, where a state-of-the-art device is scheduled to be introduced to analyze DNA collected in connection with criminal cases handled by local police across Japan.

Laboratories at each prefectural police department currently conduct DNA tests, but limited capacities have often made it difficult for them to expand the testing beyond murders, robberies and other serious crimes.

The new center is designed to collect DNA data in 20,000 criminal cases in its first year, including petty crimes.

The NPA will send police stations nationwide special kits for collecting suspects’ tissue samples, which will then be given to the newly established center instead of prefectural laboratories.

Test results will be sent back to each police department and put into databases at not only the national center but local labs. Such a database system will not be applied to people questioned by police on a voluntary basis, according to the sources.

DNA tests on articles left at crime scenes as well as suspects in serious cases will continue to be conducted at local labs.

Japanese police introduced DNA testing in 1992 and the database at the National Research Institute of Police Science had test results on roughly 70,000 people as of the end of November.