In Japan, no one can hear you scream “I’m innocent!”

One of my good friends, photojournalist extraordinare Dan Ryan (http://brisbanegraphicartsmuseum.com/smallstories/ , http://lets-dan-ryan.tumblr.com/), is friends with journalist Jake Adelstein. If you’re not familiar with Adelstein, he wrote a best selling book, “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan,” which chronicled his exploits as a reporter covering the Japanese Yakuza. Adelstein holds the distinction of being the only American reporter admitted into the Tokyo Metropolitan Police press club. While he no longer lives in Japan (death threats tend to make one a little mobile), he is still an active freelance reporter, and just had this article published for the Daily Beast:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/29/abandon-hope-all-ye-tried-in-japan.html

In short, the article outlines a justice system where 99% of cases result in a conviction, but there is more to this than meets the eye. Prosecutorial misconduct is the norm, double jeopardy is basically unknown, and an attitude of “guilty until proven guilty” pervades all aspect of the justice system in Japan. it’s a fascinating insight into a very insular world It also shows that while we certainly have more than our fair share of problems in our system, we still have protections that are unknown in Japan, such as habeus corpus, and Miranda. Give it a read.

 

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What’s old is new again

A brief respite from things religious.

In the battle for possession of my liver between my immune system and me, it would seem as though my immune system is winning out. At least that’s what the transplant and liver specialists seem to be leaning towards. My old nemesis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, a.k.a., PSC, seems to be attacking my liver again. At least, they’re pretty sure that’s it. It’s not behaving like it did the first time around. I have things happening to me that didn’t occur until much later in the disease process.

The only real symptom I’ve been struggling with is itching, Unpredictable, annoying, itching that likes to center itself on my forearms and elbows, for some odd reason. While I have it on other parts of me, it’s those two places that it seem to affect the most. It’s actually common with this type of disease, due to the buildup of bilirubin being deposited in the skin, amongst other places. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment that red blood cells excrete when they die. Normally, the liver takes care of it, but if the liver is not functioning quite properly, as mine is, it gets dumped elsewhere, in the urine, skin, other places. It’s while people with liver disease become jaundiced.

I go back to the liver specialist next month, and we’ll see where we proceed from there. In the meantime, a medication called Questran is keeping some of the itching at bay. I also know that this time around, it’s the smaller bile ducts in the liver, which are very diffuse as compared to the larger ones, are those being affected, and more difficult to unblock.

Until then, I keep pushing forward. It’s all I can do.