Prison Life: Justice in Japan

We gained unprecedented filming access to two Japanese prisons to find out if accusations that the system is inhumane are true.

What we witnessed was staggering. Inmates must march to their worksites attached by a cord; they are not allowed to look the guards in the eye; outside of scheduled leisure hours, they must maintain absolute silence, unless they have obtained prior permission to speak.

The treatment of suspects in custody pushes many to confess to crimes which they did not commit, as was the case with one man who spent 46 years on death row. He was finally exonerated six years ago, but was left broken.

We try to explain why a country which operates on strict principles of balance and order might choose such a repressive system, and see if this may explain Japan having one of the lowest crime rates in the world.


  • Year: 2020
  • Duration: 54
  • Production: Nova Prod
  • Director: Marie Linton
  • Available Versions: ENG, FRA
  • Country of production: France


Related Programs

Prison for Profit 

In 'Prison for Profit', we follow the lives of former prisoners and prison warders from South Africa’s Mangaung private prison, which is run by the controversial private security firm G4S, a British multi-billion company active on a world-wide scale.

More info

USA: Life in a High Security Prison

One American prison grants us exceptional, 24/7 access. Here, 3/4 of the prisoners have been convicted of violent crimes. How is the prison managed?

More info

How to Prepare for Prison

'How to Prepare for Prison' focuses on the lives of three different people facing the daunting prospect of serving prison sentences for the very first time.

More info