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Government Support: Japan
Government Assistance to Victims
We do not have specialized mechanism(s)/institution(s) for assisting victims of terrorism.
However, the Support Office for Victims of Crime at the National Police Agency provides assistance to victims of crimes in general, including planning and coordinating assistance measures as well as payment of benefits to victims of crimes committed inside Japan. The Support Office for Victims of Crime has also been in charge of disbursing the benefits to victims.
In addition, each Prefectural Police has a department to assist victims of crimes in general, not limited to the victim of terrorism. It provides the arrangement of consultations and counselling and disburses the benefits to victims which limited to the crimes committed in Japan. Moreover, it provides the information related to the process of the investigation.
Following the enactment of the Basic Act on Crime Victims etc. (note: “etc” hereinafter means victims’ families and bereaved families) in 2004, the Office for Promotion of Policies for Crime Victims etc. at the Cabinet Office is established to assist the administration of the Council for the Promotion of Policies for Crime Victims etc., which is tasked to draft the Basic Plan for Crime Victims etc. to deliberate important matters concerning the measures for crime victims, and to promote, verify, assess and monitor implementation of such measures.
Relevant organizations and agencies such as police provide some trainings and seminars for those who are responsible for the assistance to the victim of crime.
Legal Resources available to Victims
Victims of crimes causing death or injury to a person through an intentional criminal act, including terrorism, may be allowed, by a ruling of the court, to participate in the proceedings of certain cases through the victim participation system established in 2007.
The victim participation system permits victims of terrorism and their bereaved families, to:
i) appear on the trial dates and be seated next to public prosecutors;
ii) examine witnesses on matters necessary to challenge the probative value of the statements of certain witnesses with regard to the circumstances.
iii) examine defendants within the scope deemed necessary to state their opinions;
iv) state their opinions on the finding of facts or the application of law after closing arguments have been made by public prosecutors.
Collaboration with other Organisations
Although it intends to support the victim of crime in general not focusing on the victim of terrorism, each prefecture has Council on supporting crime victims. That council is usually organized by the police, the public prosecutor office, bar associations, medical associations, local authorities, private sector and so on. The purpose of that Council is to promote the mutual cooperation within relevant agencies for assisting the victim of crimes.