Japan is planning to introduce an electronic system for issuing arrest warrants in 2024, as part of its efforts to streamline the criminal justice process and enhance its transparency.
The system will allow judges to issue warrants online, without having to meet with police or prosecutors in person, and will also enable the public to access information on the warrants through a website.
The electronic arrest warrants system is one of the reforms proposed by the Justice System Reform Council, a panel of experts appointed by the government in 2020 to review the current system and suggest improvements.
The council also recommended the introduction of a pretrial conference system, which would allow judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers to discuss the evidence and issues of a case before the trial, and the expansion of the lay judge system, which involves citizen participation in criminal trials.
According to the Ministry of Justice, the electronic arrest warrants system will improve the efficiency and speed of the warrant issuance process, which currently requires judges to examine the documents submitted by the police or prosecutors and to interview the suspects in person.
The system will also enhance the accountability and transparency of the warrant issuance process, as the public will be able to access information on the warrants, such as the name and photo of the suspect, the date and time of the issuance, the crime and the grounds for the arrest, and the name of the issuing judge, through a website.
The website will also provide statistics on the number and types of warrants issued, as well as the outcome of the cases.