U.N. body advises Japan to reform prison system
The Japan Times: Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Compiled from Kyodo, AP
The U.N. Committee against Torture has unveiled a report that advises Japan to reform its "substitute prison" system, part of its concluding observations on human rights reports from Japan and six other countries.
The committee report also accuses Japan of trying to whitewash its past practice of forcing women to become sex slaves for Japanese Imperial army soldiers, and urged Tokyo to help surviving victims.
The committee, which examined Japan's first report on the issue, made the observations earlier this month in line with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
"The Committee was deeply concerned with the prevalent and systematic use of the 'daiyo kangoku' substitute prison system for the prolonged detention of arrested persons even after they had appeared before a court," it said in a press release Monday.
Coupled with insufficient procedural guarantees, use of such prisons "increased the possibilities of abuse of detainees' rights," it said.
The committee advised Japan to amend its laws "to ensure complete separation between the functions of investigation and detention," and to "limit the maximum time detainees could be held in police custody in line with international minimum standards."
It noted that the system of notifying death-row inmates of their execution hours before it takes place "could amount to torture or ill-treatment." It also criticized the practice of "keeping death-row prisoners in solitary confinement after the final sentence was handed down, in some cases exceeding 30 years."
On other matters, the committee highlighted the inadequacy of Japan's compensation for women forced into sexual servitude for its soldiers during World War II — euphemistically called "comfort women" — and called on Japan to take measures to eliminate sexual violence.
The Japan Times: Wednesday, May 23, 2007