Dec 29, 2012

Last Letters from Jail: Professor Masaki Shimoji Now Released

Professor Masaki Shimoji and one of his fellow protesters were released from jail on December 28.  However, another protester remained in detention and was indicted on a charge of forcible obstruction of business.
Professor Shimoji’s last letters written in jail depict critical issues permeating through the corrupt criminal justice system in Japan.  His concern for the future of young people, including young police officers in Japan should not be taken lightly.
Now out of jail, Professor Shimoji is back in full swing trying to stop the disaster debris incineration in Osaka and to free his fellow protesters from jail.

For the circumstances regarding unjust arrest of Professor Masaki Shimoji who was jailed on December 9th for opposing the debris incineration in Osaka, please refer to the following link:


Written opinion for the December 18th court hearing for indication of the reasons for detention by Masaki Shimoji

In court, I explained in detail what I remember.  As a result, even in the midst of confusion of factual relationships, “Request for Detention” was turned down once.  I thought it was a matter of course since the alleged facts of crime in the arrest warrant were nonsense to begin with.  However, somehow, after a long wait, a decision was made for detention again.  Moreover, the reason for the decision was total nonsense not based on any objective evidence.  I wonder what happened to independence of justice.

This morning there was an investigation by the public prosecutor, but even the prosecutor said the alleged facts of crime included only a few statements regarding my conduct.

The reason for my detention is supposedly the “fear of destruction of proof of crime.”  In other words, they seem to think I would conspire with interested parties to try to destroy evidence.  However, I told the judge everything at a private pre-hearing session.  Why do I need to conspire with others at this time?

Rather, isn’t it the police and the security company, which provides posts to many former police officers under the “amakudari” arrangement, that are actually conspiring?  If they think there is no such possibility, what are the grounds for it?  It is not a simple matter of what the actual witnesses did in their former jobs.   As they are in the closely related trade, such background should be taken into consideration.  Isn’t it true?

During civic movements I have been involved with, I have often protested against unfair interference by police with activities of expression on streets.  They say “permission is necessary” even for things that don’t require permission.  If we raise an objection saying “It’s not true” and question them, they often withdraw dejectedly.  Of course they never apologize, and they tell the same lie on another day.  There is no improvement at all.  That is why I have patiently repeated protests in order to show and tell as many people as possible how unfair their action is.  As a result, I think more people have become aware of, protesting unfair police action.

Unfair police action is not limited to interference with expression on streets, but that is the matter I have raised with perseverance.  I have done so hoping to improve the world.  Then police began to call me by my name or job title.  Their intention was to threaten me.  If police officers call me by name, I would ask to see their police identification cards, but they rarely agree.  Isn’t this a breach of the rules?  More than anything, I feel bad for young police officers who are given such senseless work.  I feel bad all the more so because they include students I have taught.

It is a matter of fact that the October 5th arrest of Mr. A at the protest rally in front of KEPCO was unjust for the following reasons: There were more police officers present that day than ever; and the videotape captured the fall that was the basis of the allegation.

Osaka Prefectural Police have known me for a long time.  Was I an eyesore to them because I would point out and object unfair police actions?  Instead of inspecting how their work should be so that they could improve what could be improved, they, in resentment, exercise their power of authority to incriminate me.  Isn’t this suitable for the crime of Abuse of Authority by Special Public Officials?  This is nothing more than a children’s fight.

The public prosecutors which should be admonishing reckless police side with them.  Court which should check and prevent such unjust action easily sanction it.  What has happened to criminal justice in this country?

The public prosecutor talked as if keeping silent will increase the need for detention.  However, precisely because police might abuse power of authority for private reasons, the right to keep silent is an important right.

Both arrests and detention are significant restrictions of human rights.  I ask the court to strictly demand objective facts.

Of late, individuals who have severely protested unfair interference and unfair action by the Osaka Prefectural Police have been arrested and indicted one after another.  This is an unusual situation reminiscent of the Special Higher Police before World War II.  I would like to remind people that the court is under a significant responsibility of either inviting or stopping the repeat of the dark ages of criminal justice.

This is not a minor case at all.  Court needs to remain vigilant in upholding legitimate law.

December 18, 2012
Masaki Shimoji

Original Japanese version can be found in the following link:


Letter written on December 19, 2012

During my meeting with the public prosecutor, I told him several reasons why none of the alleged facts of crime in the arrest warrant were true at all.  He said something like, “Why don’t you just tell me everything honestly?  If you remain silent, we can’t help but detain you.”  However, this is insane.

The police organization has absolute powers of authority in deciding what and who to investigate and send to the public prosecutor’s office.  There is a chance that they might use the power of authority in order to privately benefit individuals making up the police organization.  This is a matter of fact in terms of public economics (public choice theory).  As unjustified resentment for protest against the unjust police action, or as a favor to KEPCO which is one of the important sources of parachuting officials, they will arrest those involved in citizens’ action.  This is nothing surprising about this at all.  The prosecutor’s office has a view that police are fundamentally good.  This won’t help at all.

That is why, for the victims of the abuse of power of authority to be protected, it is necessary to guarantee “as the right” the right to not cooperate with those who maliciously abuse the power of authority.  “Detention because of exercising the right to remain silent” is essentially absurd.

”What’s doubtful should be a benefit to defendant” is not for a real trial only.  Both arrests and detention are significant restrictions of rights, and they should be extremely carefully applied.  Current application is equal to saying, “Police can, at its own convenience, initiate 20-day imprisonment, at will.”  Current situation is absolutely terrible.  Objective evidence should be demanded for either arrests or detention.  The period of detention should be strictly limited.

Doubt in order to believe someone.  It’s a phrase by one of the main characters (Is it Akiyama?) from a comic called “Liar Game.”

Police can make mistakes.  They do bad things.  The reason why you doubt them on that ground is to discover what is left to be believable.  Someone who believes that “Police don’t maliciously investigate or send someone to the public prosecutor’s office.” is overly soft-headed.  Or else the person is, in short, irresponsible, as “he/she won’t be bothered by someone who is actually making mistakes and doing bad deeds.”  (Actually, there is a possibility it could be worse).

In the first place, Japanese legal statistics include abnormal numbers compared to foreign countries such as 99.9% guilty verdict rate and a probability for permission for detention.

They might say, “Guilty verdict rate is 99.9% because only absolutely guilty cases are indicted.”  This can be understandable as a personal belief, but it’s absurd as knowledge of social science.

Power always corrupts, but a system relying on individual morals corrupts at a more severe level.  It’s because it’s equal to being ungoverned.

It is necessary to analyze the Japanese criminal trial system from a social science point of view.  It is necessary to conduct an opinion poll of public prosecutors and judges (for instance in regards to the meaning of the right to remain silent, the possibility of abuse of power, and the importance of restricting rights to arrest and detain, etc.)  Researchers are needed to visualize “conscience” of criminal justice.  Is anybody doing such research?

I am sometimes asked if I am afraid of police.  Of course I am not unafraid of police.  I am adapting to the environment of jail and learning something here.  However, violation of human rights being imposed on me is tremendously terrible.

I am rather afraid of the world where one is afraid of police when having done nothing wrong, the world where people take for granted without any doubt that “one is afraid of police when having done nothing wrong,” and the world where everyone remains silent.  Moreover, situations are getting worse.

Such a world is a terrible place for police officers, especially young police officers.  Is there anything we can do to change the situation for them?

Other than police officers, when I see faces of young people, I feel hope and joy without reason, but at the same time I feel apologetic to them.  The state of the world we are leaving for them is, currently,  absolutely terrible.  Let’s improve it even a little bit with our power.

In addition to issues of nuclear power plants and radiation, we must immediately deal with the danger of this country becoming a police state.  What we can do in the next one to two years will greatly alter our future.  Especially those of you called “scholars,” there will be no other opportunity unless you act on it now.  We must do it now.

December 19, 2012
Masaki Shimoji

Original Japanese version can be found in the following link:

Statement from Dr. Helen Caldicott in support of Professor Shimoji

Professor Shimoji is a brave and moral man who is worried about his students and future generations. It is imperative that he be supported in his quest to halt incineration of radioactive waste in Osaka and elsewhere in Japan as this will add to the misery, sickness and deaths that will be the Fukushima legacy.

Helen Caldicott




We are collecting individual and group statements from all over the world in support of freeing Professor Shimoji.  Please send them with your name, name of your organization if any, and your address to

1 comment:

  1. Very well and impressive things you write. i admire your effort.