Sending Papers, Reloaded

Almost a year ago, I explained the concept of “sending papers” and its procedural role in prosecuting criminal acts in Japan. I posted on the topic because photographer Kishin Shinoyama was indicted on suspicion of public indecency for shooting photos of nude models in public spaces. (Afternote: In May 2010, the Tokyo summary court found him guilty of public indecency and disrespecting a holy place and ordered him to pay a fine of JPY300,000.)

“Sending papers” has been in the news yet again recently, and today I spotted two stories in English with that expression in the title.

Police may send papers on JCG officer next week
Police will likely send papers on a former navigation officer of the Japan Coast Guard to prosecutors next week for leaking video footage onto the Internet of a Chinese trawler’s collisions with JCG patrol vessels near the Senkaku Islands in early September, sources said Thursday.

Papers sent in airport death of Ghana man
Japanese Police have sent papers to prosecutors on 10 immigration officers in connection with the death of a Ghanaian man whom they subdued immediately before his deportation by plane, it was learned Tuesday.

The last story ends with, “The Chiba prefectural police said sending papers was just a routine step in their standard criminal procedures.” True, but it lacks the explanation and context provided by my post back in January, which I’ll repeat here for clarification:

“Send papers” or “Send papers to prosecutors” is a crude (but accurate) English translation of 書類送検 or shorui souken, a word frequently seen in Japanese news stories.

The word “sending papers” is not actually used by the police or prosecutors and does not appear in any criminal procedure legislation. Those words also have no legal definition. They just describe the legal requirements of the police officers to provide information to prosecutors where they have not arrested someone, or initially arrested them and released them. Prosecutors can, and do, designate that some minor crimes be up to the discretion of the police to process independently, but for all but the most minor crimes, the police are obliged by law to send papers to the prosecutors, and leave the decision of whether or not to prosecute the suspects with the prosecutors.

In which Curzon finally gets impressed by the DPJ

No further comment. All of these are good steps forward—many of which could never have been accomplished with an LDP administration.

MTA 1973 contruction report video

This 1973 video produced by New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority, courtesy of the NYC Transit Museum Archives, is awesome on several levels. We get to see cool footage of infrastructure construction projects, a period portrait of the City, an optimistic vision of NYC’s transit future JUST on the cusp of their impending bankruptcy, which scuttled most of those plans for a generation. And of course its all in a now amusing retro presentation.

Video originally pointed out to me by the NYC mass transit blog Second Avenue Sagas (named after the LONG delayed, now finally under construction Second Avenue Subway), which is one of my favorite regular blog reads.

In the second video it shows the old elevated line in the Bronx being dismantled, while talking about how the new Second Avenue Subway will run “all the way from the Bronx to the southern tip of Manhattan” but in the meantime “the transportation needs of the community are being met by modern, comfortable bus service.” Guess how that worked out?

Update: There’s also a similar video from the 1950s!

Japanese expats

This chart on Japanese living abroad from Nikkei was too good not to share. When I was going to school in Washington and living in Bangkok, I had a fair amount of experience dealing with Japanese expats. I knew mostly students in DC, so these were by and large people who just wanted to learn enough English to either help them in their get a job after graduating from a Japanese university or earn some promotion points at their companies back home, if they were older.

Bangkok, however, was a different animal entirely. Perhaps because I was looking for work, I had the chance to speak with a lot of recruiters and translation agencies. Many of the Japanese people I met came to Bangkok with long-term plans to stay. For some of the younger people, working as a local employee of a Japanese company was a way around the shukatsu system, while some older men apparently just fell in love with the country (and probably its women as well), not so different from the throngs of British/European men with Thai wives that are common in the city.

There was another recent article in Asahi about how young Japanese are flocking to Shanghai for the job opportunities. I can certainly understand the draw. A big city in a fast-growing, developing country like Bangkok and Shanghai can be very exciting. Bangkok was bustling, full of interesting people from all walks of life, loud, had great food, and was just a treasure trove of new experiences, sights, and smells (some better than others). Add to that a well-paying job and for many it won’t compare to life back home. Compared to that, Tokyo can seem downright dull.

Chart source: Nikkei.com (sub req’d)