Govt eyes law enforcement treaty with U.S.
Source: Daily Yomiuri
By Yomiuri Shimbun
Date: June 20, 2003
The government is planning to conclude a treaty with the United States this summer on cooperation in criminal investigations aimed at enabling Japanese and U.S. law enforcement agencies to promptly respond to international terrorism and cybercrime, among other crimes, government sources said Thursday.
According to the sources, a main point of the planned treaty is that investigators of one country can directly request assistance from investigators of the other country, bypassing diplomatic channels.
The government plans to seek the ratification by the Diet during an extraordinary Diet session that is expected to be called in autumn. At the same time, the government will seek to submit bills to revise related domestic laws, including one concerning international cooperation in investigations.
Under the current system, when the foreign minister receives a request from a foreign country through diplomatic channels, the minister relays the request to the justice minister who then instructs prosecutors or the National Public Safety Commission to launch an investigation. To get Japan to respond to such requests, the requesting country must promise to comply with similar requests from Japan.
However in the proposed bilateral treaty, the Justice Ministry or police can make requests to have evidence collected or witnesses questioned directly to the U.S. Justice Department and vice versa, a change that is expected to significantly speed the procedure.
If the treaty is concluded, law enforcement agencies in Japan and the United States will be able to enter into wide range of cooperative investigations and actions.
According to the sources, the Foreign Ministry is now working on details of the treaty, and will soon enter talks with the U.S. government to finalize the treaty as the United States is seeking an early conclusion of the treaty.
Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the U.S. administration has been trying to create a worldwide network for investigative cooperation. It has reportedly concluded similar treaties with 45 countries.
Original article: http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/newse/20030620wo02.htm
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