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News - 7 January 2013

INTERNATIONAL: Japan - why do innocent people confess to crimes?

Japan has a conviction rate of more than 99%. But in recent months there has been a public outcry over a number of wrongful arrests where innocent people confessed to crimes.

It started with a threat posted on the city of Yokohama's website in late June: "I'll attack a primary school and kill all the children before the summer."

In the months that followed, there were a number of similar threats posted on the internet - some threatening famous people, including the Emperor's grandchildren.

After a police investigation, four people were arrested. Two, including a 19-year-old student, confessed while in custody.

But on 9 October, the real perpetrator sent an email to a lawyer and local media, explaining how he or she made those threats by taking control of innocent internet users' computers with a virus.

His or her purpose, as stated in the email to Ochiai, was "to expose the police and prosecutors' abomination".

And in a way, it did. It raised the question - why did the innocent people confess to a crime that they didn't commit? What kind of pressure were they put under?

Find out more from The BBC, here


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