When you are arrested in Japan | Your Rights and Procedures

If you are arrested for a crime in Japan, you will be detained as a suspect for up to 23 days. During this period, the prosecutor will decide whether to prosecute or drop the case. To increase the likelihood of having your case dropped, it is crucial to take proactive steps within these 23 days, such as apologizing or reaching an out-of-court settlement.

Should the prosecutor decide to proceed with the case, your detention may continue until the conclusion of the criminal trial, which can take months or even years. However, after prosecution, you may be eligible for bail. Bail is typically set around JPY 2,000,000, but the exact amount depends on factors such as your income and assets. The judge will only grant bail if assured that you will not flee or tamper with evidence, so it is essential to demonstrate your reliability and intention to comply with all legal requirements.

When arrested, it is vital to seek professional legal assistance immediately. Only licensed attorneys, known as Bengoshi in Japan, can provide the necessary support for criminal cases. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney.

Japan offers a “Toban Bengoshi” (Duty Attorney System), where the police can call an attorney from the bar association to assist you. However, this system does not allow you to choose a specific attorney. If you require an English-speaking attorney, you will need to find one independently. We sometimes take on cases where foreign students or young people have been arrested in Japan for using marijuana or other drugs, at the request of their parents in their home countries.

We are able to handle criminal cases in Kawasaki and Yokohama. Although Japanese attorneys are qualified to handle cases throughout Japan, we recommend that you seek out an attorney in the same area as the investigating agency handling your case, especially for criminal cases, which may require urgent attention.

Detailed English-language information on criminal procedures in Japan can be found on the U.S. Embassy website.