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Wrongful Convictions and Executions: East & West

Sunday, October 14, 2018 - 2:00pm to 5:00pm 

Wrongful convictions and exonerations continue to dominate the media on both sides of the Pacific. In the minds of the general public, wrongful convictions are due to honest mistakes made in the pursuit of justice. In this session, Fox will challenge this notion and insist that most wrongful convictions, both in Japan and the USA, have been deliberately and maliciously fabricated. There will be three parts to the talk: (1) Fire, death, coerced confession and wrongful conviction: A tale of two countries. Two cases will be reviewed, one in Osaka and one in Delaware (USA), in which coerced confessions led to convictions for arson and murder. The three defendants -- two in Osaka, one in the US -- were all sentenced to life imprisonment. (2) “Women doin' time for men's crimes” The world's prisons are filled with women who have been convicted for crimes perpetrated by men. "If you run with the wolves, you are guilty of the kill" is a maxim embraced by too many police and prosecutors. We will examine cases of women accomplices who were arrested, defied authorities, rejected plea bargains, and are now serving long terms of incarceration. (3) Wrongful Executions Popular support for the death penalty has been decreasing in the United States, but remains high in Japan. We will look at actual cases of wrongful executions in both countries, and one in China. Classroom teachers can use the simple yet highly persuasive materials that will be shared in this section. Michael H. Fox grew up in suburban Detroit, and came to Japan with a backpack in 1979. He spends most of his waking life researching wrongful convictions and the death penalty. He maintains three websites: the Japan Innocence and Death Penalty Information Center (, the Women’s Criminal Justice Network (, and the Network for Innocent Arson Defendant ( This is, of course, too much work for one person, and at any given time, all three websites may be badly out of date. During the day, he works at Hyogo University in Kakogawa. Zen meditation and seaside walks have helped him maintain sanity…so far. This event is co-sponsored by Kyoto JALT and SIETAR Kansai. The meeting venue is in the Nishinomiya Daigaku Koryu Center (ACTA East Tower 6F, Room 2), 2 minutes from Hankyu Nishinomiya Kitaguchi station.

There will be a dinner after the session at a restaurant. Reservations for dinner required by October 10.

Event Speaker: Michael H. Fox (Associate Professor, Hyogo Univ.)
Fee for JALT members: Free for JALT and SIETAR members and students
Fee for non-JALT members: 500 yen


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