Legal revisions allow GPS tracking of defendants out on bail

Japan's Diet has enacted a bill that will allow defendants out on bail to be tracked using GPS devices. This comes as the number of people granted bail has increased in recent years.

The bill to amend the criminal procedure law and other legislation cleared the Upper House on Wednesday. It was passed by the Lower House last month.

Recently in Japan, a number of people accused of crimes have fled while out on bail. In a high-profile case in 2019, former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn fled to Lebanon while he was awaiting trial on charges that he had engaged in financial misconduct.

Under the revised law, defendants will be required to wear GPS devices while they are out on bail, if courts deem the move necessary. The measure is designed to prevent defendants from fleeing overseas.

If defendants enter airports, seaports or a facility from which they have been banned, law enforcement officers will track them down and detain them.

If an individual out on bail fails to make a court appearance, or stays away from a court-designated residence for a longer period of time than allowed, the person could face up to two years in prison.

The legal revisions also incorporate provisions aimed at bolstering protections for victims of sex crimes and other offenses. When it is deemed necessary, judges and prosecutors can forgo disclosing the personal information of victims, such as their names and addresses, to suspected offenders while criminal processes are being carried out.