Occidentalism
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“I Just Didn’t Do It” それでもボクはやってない

February 18th, 2007 . by Matt

busted for sekuhara
Detained for sexual harassment

Here is a story about a Japanese movie that I want to see. It is about the problem of sexual harassment of women on trains, and how an accusation can destroy someones life.

TOKYO: Masayuki Suo had an international hit a decade ago with the original “Shall We Dance?” Now the director is offering much more serious fare: a film that challenges Japan’s secretive, lethargic justice system.

“I Just Didn’t Do It” is about the legal battle of a man mistakenly accused of groping a woman on a jam-packed commuter train in Tokyo, taking aim at a court system with a suspiciously high 99 percent conviction rate.

“I had to make this film because of the outrage … that I felt as a Japanese over the injustice in this country,” Suo said, accusing courts of favoring the prosecution over the rights of the accused. “I simply couldn’t look the other way.”

In a country where top films — romances, action movies and animation — are not often seen as a venue for social commentary, Suo’s latest work stands out. The movie has been a top box-office draw in Japan since its Jan. 20 release.

“The film deals with a rare theme, but everyone can relate to the topic, because groping is a widespread problem, and this could happen to anyone,” said Takeshi Otaki, an official at the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan.

The film stars Ryo Kase, who played a former military policeman in Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima.” Koji Yakusho — the main character in 1996’s “Shall We Dance?” — plays his top lawyer.

Suo, whose “Shall We Dance?” was remade in Hollywood starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez in 2004, said “I Just Didn’t Do It” was prompted by the unusual case of an office worker acquitted of groping after a five-year legal battle.

Pleading innocent is rare in Japan, where defendants — facing near certain conviction — are pressed to admit guilt as a way of winning leniency. Police are known for heavy-handed measures to get suspects to confess, rather than conducting the investigations needed to build a solid case.

Suo said groping — a serious problem on Japan’s crowded trains — is the kind of accusation open to abuse because prosecutors can press charges without establishing a motive, except that a suspect is a male.

Police take advantage of suspects’ fear of public shame and urge them to sign confessions, he said. If convicted, gropers can face up to 10 years in prison. About 1,900 men were arrested for the crime in Tokyo in 2005, police say.

The Japanese police have the legal ability to place enormous pressure on a suspect, and the Japanese police have even pressured a man that committed no crime to confess to murder (I remember that, but cannot find a link).

I am looking forward to seeing this movie.


8 Responses to ““I Just Didn’t Do It” それでもボクはやってない”

  1. comment number 1 by: tomato

    If convicted, gropers can face up to 10 years in prison.

    Not quite. The reporter has minimal understanding on how it works. First, chikan (groping) is usually a misdemeanor, punished by local government ordinances, which is like couple of months in prison or some fine. If you go too far, such as touching genitals, you will be prosecuted as “Kyosei-waisetsu” (sexual molestation/assault), which, as the report says, the convicted may face up to 10 years imprisonment.

    However, usually one will not be imprisoned the first time (you’ll get a suspended term), even if it was the more serious “Kyosei-waisetsu”. The Japanese courts give very light sentences, and you have to commit a very, very serious crime or a repeated offender to get the maximum 10 years. Maybe this might be contributing to the so many “chikan” acts around, maybe not.

    With all that, if you are convicted of committing “chikan”, the damage to reputation will be serious, which is pretty serious and you should like to avoid.

    The Japanese police have the legal ability to place enormous pressure on a suspect, and the Japanese police have even pressured a man that committed no crime to confess to murder (I remember that, but cannot find a link).

    Not quite. You have the right to remain silent and counsel a lawyer in Japan–you can’t force a personally to confess. If the court finds the police doing that, and the only evidence against you is your confession, you will not be convicted.

    There is pressure the police can use, which is the authority to detain persons for up to 10 days or more per alleged crime (of course, the police will need a warrant for this), which will be great pressure if you’re a regular “salaryman” and can’t be absent from work for that long a time- the boss will find out what you were detained for- pretty serious stuff.

    About the murder thing, that did happen few decades ago and there are famous cases on that (and it’s easy to find books about them), but recently, I don’t think it’s really happening- because the police and prosecutors lost couple of major cases in the past. Kind of like what’s happening in the US after Miranda. If you’re the prosecutor and the only evidence you have is a confession, you’ll need some courage coupled with risk of ruining your carrier to indict.

  2. comment number 2 by: tomato

    About the detainment, it does seem that you get detained if you don’t confess- and the problem with groping is that people including the police tend believe the story of the victim and not of the alleged groper. And since the penalty is minimal anyways, the overall pressure will be to confess and be released– well, this might be called legal force. Not quite sure if this will work in a murder case, because the penalty for murder is darn serious…

  3. comment number 3 by: smackout

    Tomato you seem to have an intiment knowledge here, anything you maty want to confess?

  4. comment number 4 by: tomato

    smackout:

    Not really, but when you do come to Japan, don’t ride in crowded trains next to women…be among men, and if you do get caught, don’t confess if you didn’t do it.

    Amazing you cared about reading my comments which are a real bore when I myself look at them again.

  5. comment number 5 by: tomato

    One other comment:

    I’ve never seen the movie, but there is growing awareness in Japan that there are cases of wrongly accused in “chikan“, and the movie I guess represents such trend.

  6. comment number 6 by: smackout

    Tomato, funny you say that as when i lived in Japan , i was groped once on a train and once in a supermarket and im a man…works both ways i think….

  7. comment number 7 by: tomato

    smackout,

    Well, that happens. There’s even a word for it. And the groper may be of either sex…seems like the crowded city-life is making some people crack up.

  8. comment number 8 by: stumpjumper

    …I have seen so many of them, and it goes the other way around too which I don’t mind. Yes, I do also remember feeling a hot flashlight between my butt cheeks too that I mind.