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Arrest Procedures: The First 72 Hours


Please click here to read about the latest changes in the Japanese legal system, effective October 2006: Court-appointed Attorney; Sppedy Trial; and Lay Judge System. (PDF 93.42kb)

Under Japanese law, you may be arrested and detained without bail for 48 hours by the police on suspicion of having committed a crime. During this period, the police are required to inform you of the crime of which you are suspected, of your right to remain silent, of your right to hire a lawyer at your own expense and of your right to have the Embassy or the Consulate notified of your arrest. 

There are no automatic "Miranda rights" in Japan. If an arrestee is unable to hire a lawyer, he or she will be assigned a court-appointed lawyer.  However, the police usually begin their initial questioning before you have an opportunity to see a lawyer. 

If the police believe they have enough evidence to detain you, they must present this evidence to a public prosecutor within the initial 48-hour detention period. The suspect appears before the prosecutor when the police present the evidence. If the prosecutor concurs, he/she must then obtain a warrant of detention from a judge within 24 hours. Again, the suspect would appear before the judge when the warrant is requested. A case could be dropped at either of these stages for lack of evidence.


Bail is the exception rather than the rule in Japan and is virtually unheard of for foreigners. If you are arrested in Japan you will in all likelihood remain in jail until you are indicted or released. Suspects are usually kept at the local jail where they were arrested and generally eat the same Japanese style food as the other prisoners.

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