Panel suggests GPS monitoring to fight flight dangers

A panel of experts has proposed that the Japanese Ministry of Justice introduce GPS tracking of people released on bail if the courts believe they are at risk of escaping abroad.

The move comes amid an increasing number of bail cases, often aimed at giving the defendants more time to prepare for the trial. The increase has come with the introduction of lay judges in some cases since 2009.

In recent years there have been a number of cases of defendants who have escaped on bail after their release.

A prominent example came in 2019 when former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn fled to Lebanon in a private jet while awaiting a trial for alleged financial misconduct.

According to the proposal drafted on Friday, people who are on bail with GPS devices would be monitored and arrested if they violate an entry ban for air and sea ports.

A prison sentence of up to two years would be imposed if defendants do not appear in court on bail or stay away from their intended place of residence for longer than permitted.

However, there are concerns about the effectiveness of such restrictions. Ministry officials say they will not monitor the accused around the clock out of respect for their privacy.

The proposal is to be presented to the Minister of Justice at the end of October.

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