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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 December 21 - 2017 January 3  > Construction of police station on court house premises will produce cozy relationship between two authorities
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2016 December 21 - 2017 January 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Construction of police station on court house premises will produce cozy relationship between two authorities

December 22, 2016
A lawyers’ association and human rights groups in Tokushima Prefecture are opposing the planned relocation of a local police office building to the court house premises, claiming that such a plan will probably undermine the neutrality and fairness of the judicial organ.

Tokushima Governor Iizumi Kamon in June 2015 in the prefectural assembly published a plan to relocate the Tokushima Higashi Police Station to an unused space on the compound of the Tokushima District Court. He said that the court house is the “best” choice for the relocation site.

The role of the judiciary is to protect people’s basic human rights under the Constitution. To achieve this, it monitors police activities and prevents the police from abusing their authority. The use of the same site by the court and the police will lead to a loss of public trust in the judicial system’s neutrality and justness.

The Tokushima Prefectural Police argued that in Yamanashi, the Kofu Police Station shares space with the Kofu District Court. However, this situation was allowed under the pre-war constitution which stated neither the separation of the three powers nor respect for human rights. Since the current Constitution was enacted, no police station in Japan has been built in a court house.

Lawyer Tsugawa Hiroaki who heads the Tokushima Bar Association’s taskforce on the police office relocation issue pointed out that the relocation plan indicates that the prefectural government is hardly concerned with the issue of the protection of human rights. Following the announcement of the relocation plan, the bar association expressed its opposition to the plan through various activities, including releasing the president’s statement, petitioning the governor, and holding a symposium.

Matsuura Akihito of the Tokushima local of the Japan Association for Social Justice and Human Rights (Kokumin Kyuenkai) said, “The district court should not accept the relocation plan. If judges, lawyers, and police officers see each other frequently on the same premises, they could drift into cozy relations, causing the possible occurrence of human rights abuse by police through the easy issuance of court warrants.”

As soon as the plan to relocate the police station to the court house premises emerged, the Japanese Communist Party in the prefectural assembly criticized the process of making the relocation plan as unclear and demanded that the relocation plan be cancelled.
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