GPS devices can be used on defendants at risk of theft

An advisory group to Japan’s justice minister has proposed that the country introduce the use of GPS devices on defendants in criminal cases, if they are considered a flight risk when released on bail.

The panel presented a report on Thursday outlining the proposal to Justice Minister Furukawa Yoshihisa.

The proposal came in response to an increase in the number of cases recently, in which defendants in criminal cases have fled and failed to appear for trial after being released on bail.

In a high-profile case in 2019, former Nissan president Carlos Ghosn fled to Lebanon on a private jet as he awaited trial for alleged financial misconduct.

Under the proposal, defendants released on bail would be asked to wear GPS devices if courts say they are required to do so. The devices would help law enforcement officials track and detain them if they are seen to enter unauthorized areas such as airports and seaports.

The panel also proposes a prison sentence of up to two years for defendants released on bail, if they do not appear in court or if they stay away from their court-designated residence for a longer period. than allowed.

In another issue, the advisory committee also proposed introducing a jail sentence for those convicted of making defamatory comments about other people online.

The crime of publicly expressing contempt for others is currently not punishable by small fines or detention.

The Justice Department plans to present legislation to introduce these legal revisions to an ordinary Diet session next year.

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