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(May 21, 2010) The Diet, Japan's legislature, amended the country's Criminal Procedure Law to abolish the statute of limitations for murder and other crimes that result in the deaths of persons. The amendments became effective on April 28, 2010, the day after the Law to Amend the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Law was promulgated (Law No. 26 of 2010). The new Law is applied to cases in which the statute of limitations had not run out as of its effective date, even if the crime was committed before the new Law's enactment. (Criminal Procedure Law, Law No. 131 of 1948, amended by Law No. 26, Attached Provisions, art. 3.)
Japan had already extended the statute of limitations for serious crimes in 2004. (Law to Amend the Penal Code and Other laws, Law No. 156 of 2004.) However, crime victim groups have become more active recently and requested abolishment of the statute of limitations for serious crimes. The general public also agreed with them. (Hōmu daijin kakugi go kisha kaiken no Gaiyō [Summary of Press Conference with Minister of Justice After Cabinet Meeting], July 17, 2009, available at Ministry of Justice website, http://www.moj.go.jp/hisho/kouhou/kaiken_point_sp090717-01.html.) The Ministry of Justice had asked for public and expert opinions and concluded the statute of limitations should be abolished for capital crimes in February 2010. (Hōsei shingikai dai 162 kai kaigi [Legal System Committee 162nd meeting], Feb. 24, 2010, available at Ministry of Justice website, http://www.moj.go.jp/housei/houseishingikai/shingi2_100224-1.html.)
Under the new Law, the statute of limitations is not applied for crimes that are subject to the death penalty, such as murder and robbery that result in death. The term of the statute of limitations is doubled from 15 years to 30 years for crimes that are punished with imprisonment for life, such as rape on the occasion of a robbery or kidnapping for ransom. Other statute of limitations' terms for less serious crimes were also extended. (Criminal Procedure Law, Law No. 131 of 1948, amended by Law No. 26, art. 250.)
|Author:||Sayuri Umeda More by this author|
|Topic:||Criminal law and procedure More on this topic|
|Jurisdiction:||Japan More about this jurisdiction|
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Last updated: 05/21/2010