Friday, May 11, 2007

One tough lady

The village postmaster, Tomeko Nagayama, 77, spent 186 days behind bars. She was held alone in a windowless cell that she was forced to clean every night after enduring a full day of interrogation.

The police said her refusal to confess was harming her family, she said. Her husband was sick and could not live alone; her daughter had to quit her job to take over the duties at the post office.

But Ms. Nagayama, a former schoolteacher, never once considered confessing.

“I felt I’d rather die,” she said. “This kind of thing just shouldn’t be tolerated in this world.”

New York Times

Apparently prosecutors in Japan have a 99 percent conviction rate. Police can hold and interrogate suspects up to 23 days without charges; they almost always get a confession -- unless they run into someone like Tomeko Nagayama.

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