On February 6, 2014 Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby provided the following readout:
“Today, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with Japan Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and discussed ways to deepen and enhance bilateral cooperation.
Secretary Hagel expressed appreciation for the Government of Japan’s efforts in moving forward on the Futenma Replacement Facility at Camp Schwab-Henoko Bay. The two nations are committed to working together to reduce the impact of training on Okinawans. Secretary Hagel endorsed a forward-looking revision of the 1997 Guidelines for U.S.-Japan Defense Cooperation to enable Japan to play a more active role in promoting regional peace and stability.
Secretary Hagel said the United States would continue to cooperate closely with Japan on strengthening and broadening the alliance to meet the security challenges of the 21st century” (source: DOD http://www.defense.gov/).
Japan’s human rights record
The Japanese criminal justice system has been criticized on several grounds. Japanese police have the right to detain suspects for a long period. Although torture is rarely reported, this put suspects under psychological pressure to confess. They are detained and interrogated by police for periods which critics regard as unnecessary, though interrogation often induces confession which is later corroborated.
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). In common law countries which practice trial by jury, this is seen as 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. Japan also practices the death penalty, to which the U.N. objects, as do several prominent NGO’s and the European Union…
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, 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 often they don’t report takes place in regard to the treatment of illegal immigrants.
In addition, Amnesty International reports that the use of physical force in the penal system is not uncommon. National Police Law permits persons to lodge complaints against the police with national and local public safety commissions. These commissions may direct the police to conduct investigations.
See related articles: Inhumane treatment Japanese prisonhttp://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/nov/15/worlddispatch.japan
US State Department report human rights violations Japanhttp://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2006/78775.htm