Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Top Level Japanese Prosecutor Arrested. Justice Denied?

"A coup" for the Asahi Shimbun ?

"It's terrifying that something like this could happen, his alleged victim said to the media". It remains to see if the defendant Maeda is guilty or not or if he is a scapegoat but also it is quite time efficient to check if other cases have been "doctored" too, say... in money-politics.

The facts

Tsunehiko Maeda, 43, was arrested in a swift move by the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office, which launched an investigation, early yesterday. He is suspected of altering the date on a floppy disk in a case, sources said.

The story

The Supreme Public Prosecutors Office's investigation into the Osaka prosecutor, Tsunehiko Maeda, 43, started Tuesday, after the Asahi Shimbun reported his suspected doctoring of data on a floppy disk seized as evidence:

"The rare investigation comes as anger and dismay spread among legal experts. "It's incredible that investigating authorities would alter materials under probe," said Takeshi Tsuchimoto, a former prosecutor in the Supreme Public Prosecutors Office. "It is a question that goes beyond a matter of rules." The Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office had told The Asahi Shimbun that Maeda said that he had "mistakenly" rewritten the data. But a prosecution source quoted Maeda as telling a colleague earlier that he had "changed the data to match" his storyline of what had happened in the fraud case."
The Asahi story here

The questions

But today, the Yomiuri shimbun, the Conservative rival, brings a cloud of doubts on this prosecutor's arrest. In his career he handled a lot of important cases. Is there something else to read behind his arrest as the paper suggested?

Quotes: "Tsunehiko Maeda is regarded as an ace prosecutor among his colleagues because of his success at getting suspects to confess to scenarios prosecutors have laid out, allowing them to be indicted without trouble. However, despite the trust he has gained also from his superiors, he has been criticized for his forceful investigative style. Since April 2008, Maeda has been a key player in the Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office's special investigation division. He was assigned to the investigation squad after serving for two years in a similar unit operated by the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office. While in Tokyo, he investigated fraud and bribery cases, including one involving a former executive of a defense equipment trader who allegedly bribed a former administrative vice defense minister.

Just after joining the Osaka prosecutors office, he was lead investigator of a fraud case involving lawyer Morikazu Tanaka, former prosecutor of the special investigation division. He also probed a fraud case involving music producer Tetsuya Komuro in November that year. While serving at the Osaka office, Maeda was dispatched to the Tokyo office to investigate a government-paid secretary of former Democratic Party of Japan Secretary General Ichiro Ozawa in connection with an alleged violation of the Public Funds Control Law by Ozawa's political fund management organization."

Time to update and it might be good and helpful to dive into the Roman and Greek tragedies such as the "Metamorphoses" of Apuleius, tragedy describing when crime and injustice protagonist's curiosity mix with an insatiable desire to see and practice... magic! And magic there is in Japanese politics. The Metamorphoses were a source of inspiration for the 16th century author Niccolo Machiavelli, founder of modern political science in his Florentine Republic...

Sources: Asahi, Yomiuri, Reporter's Notes

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