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Japanese prosecutors and politicians keep up a delicate dance

'Independent' legal figures have long played politics in seeking their own goals

A photo montage shows, from left, Hiromu Kurokawa, who until recently headed the Tokyo High Public Prosecutors Office, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Prosecutors and politicians in Japan have long had a complex relationship. (Source photos by Kyodo) 

TOKYO -- Prosecutors in Japan possess the sole power to both investigate any crime as well as levy charges and are grouped in a special administrative agency in the Ministry of Justice.

Thus, to ensure democratic control, the right to appoint and dismiss the top prosecutor-general rests with the Cabinet that is made up of elected lawmakers. But strict political neutrality and independence are necessary for prosecutors to function properly.

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