It’s the land of serial arresting.

Japan is known for its criminal suspects spending very long periods of time in detention before they ever set foot in a courtroom, a fact that was made particularly famous by the Carlos Ghosn case a few years ago. This is because of an aspect in Japanese law where people can be arrested and then immediately re-arrested once the 23-day limit of their detention is up.


The term in Japanese is “saitaiho” which literally translates to “re-arrest” but doesn’t technically have the same nuance it might in other countries of being arrested for a murder, then released for a time, but then arrested once again once new evidence comes to light. Rather, the saitaiho form of re-arresting is a systematic tool used by police to prolong a suspect’s detention in order to prepare for a trial.

For example, if I robbed a convenience store and then immediately after stole a car to escape before getting caught I could be arrested once for the store robbery and spend the next 20 or so days in a cell and interrogation room. Then, I might instantly be re-arrested for the car theft just as I was about to be released from jail for the robbery, thus doubling my time spent in jail to 40 days without ever setting foot in front of a judge.

Article 37 of The Constitution of Japan does state the right to a speedy trial, but it’s applied proportionally to the number of charges against someone

The reason for this is said to be to buy time either to obtain evidence or a confession before the matter goes to the court. The prosecutor’s office will decide whether …continue reading