Japanese police officers feelings and beliefs about interrogation
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Japanese police officers’ feelings and beliefs about interrogation. Taeko Wachi , Kaeko Yokota, Yusuke Otsuka , Hiroki Kraishi , Kazumi Watanabe, & Michael E. Lamb National Research Institute of Police Science, Japan University of Cambridge.

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Japanese police officers feelings and beliefs about interrogation

Japanese police officers’ feelings and beliefs about interrogation

TaekoWachi, Kaeko Yokota, Yusuke Otsuka, Hiroki Kraishi, Kazumi Watanabe, & Michael E. Lamb

National Research Institute of Police Science, Japan

University of Cambridge

Previous studies in western countries interviewing styles and confessions

Previous studies in Western countries: Interviewing styles and confessions

  • Humanitarian techniques are more likely to lead to confession rather than dominant techniques.

    • Holmberg & Christianson (2002)

      • 83prisoners(murderers and sexual offenders)in Sweden

      • Self-reported questionnaires

    • Kebbell, Alison & Hurren (2008)

      • 43 prisoners (sexual offenders)in Australia

      • Experiments using fictional cases

Interviewing styles and offenders psychological well being

Interviewing styles and offenders’ psychological well-being

  • Holmberg, Christianson & Wexler (2007)

    • ‘Sense of Coherence’ scales were used to examine the offenders’ psychological well-being.

  • Interviewing styles and confessions are related to the offenders’ psychological well-being.

    • Offenders who felt respected during the interview showed higher SOC than those who did not feel respected.

    • Offenders who had admitted their crimes showed higher SOC than deniers.

The purpose of the current study

The purpose of the current study

  • This presentation has two aims:

    • To describe the interviewing techniques used in Japan

    • To investigate the relationship between the following variables;

      • Interviewing styles and confessions

      • The interrogators’ and suspects’ feelings after the interrogation

The characteristics of the japanese legal system

The characteristics of the Japanese legal system

  • A maximum of 23 days from arrest to the institution of prosecution

  • Corroborating evidence is required.

  • Recording police interviews (suspects, victim and witnesses) are not allowed.

    • Recording the parts of interviews by prosecutors has been introduced.

Methods participants

Methods: Participants

  • Police officers who interviewed suspects between January and September 2008

  • The characteristics of the suspects

    • Adults

    • Those who had committed murder, robbery, arson,rape, kidnapping or forced indecency

    • Those who had initiallydenied and then confessed (either partially or fully)

    • Those who were not mentally retarded or mentally ill.

Methods participants1

Methods: Participants

  • 276 police officers across Japan

    • Gender: Male 271, female 5

    • Age: M=40.5 (SD=8.7),median38.5

    • Years of investigative experience:


    • Rank: Constables 27, Sergeants 132,

      Inspectors 115, Chief inspectors 2

Methods material and procedure

Methods: Material and Procedure

  • Self-reported questionnaireswere administered:

    • Interviewing techniques

    • Confession types (partial or full)

    • Investigators’ feeling after the interrogation

    • (Perceived) Suspects’ feelings after the interrogation

Methods analysis

Methods: Analysis

  • Interviewing styles

    • Factor analysis(MLmethod, promaxrotation) for interviewing techniques

    • Anon-hierarchical cluster analysis (K-means)for classifying the interviewing styles

  • Interviewing styles and feelings

    • 2 × 4 ANOVAs (full or partial confession ×four types of interview styles) were conducted to examine the relationships between the interviewing styles and feelings of police officers / suspects

Results interviewing styles

Results: Interviewing styles

  • Fivefactors were obtained.

    • Presentation of evidence

    • Confrontation

    • Active listening

    • Rapport building

    • Discussion of crime

Results examples of items

Results: Examples of items

  • Presentation of Evidence : 4 items

    • Implying that there was evidence of guilt

    • Confronting the suspect with actual evidence

  • Confrontation: 5 items

    • Expressing impatience and anger towards the suspect

    • Raising your voice during the interrogation

Results examples of items1

Results: Examples of items

  • Active listening : 6 items

    • Listening to the suspect’s life story, such as personal history

    • Listening to the suspect’s stories about his/ her significant others (e.g. parents, spouse, children)

  • Rapport building : 7 items

    • Attempting to build a good relationship with the suspect

    • Treating the suspect in a friendly manner

Results examples of items2

Results: Examples of items

  • Discussion of the crime: 4 items

    • Attempting to persuade the suspect to think about the meaning of the crime committed

    • Appealing to the conscience of the suspect

Results interviewing styles1

Results: Interviewing styles

  • Based on the five factors, four interviewing styles were identified.

    • Evidence focused approach

    • Confrontational approach

    • Relationship focused approach

    • Undifferentiated approach

Japanese police officers feelings and beliefs about interrogation

Figure 1. Fourinterviewing styles. Each bar shows the mean score on

the five factors.

Result interviewing style

Result: Interviewing style

  • Evidence focused approach

    • The highest score on Presentation of Evidence factor

    • The second highest scores on Active Listening and Confrontation factors

      • Listen to the suspects’ account closely, show evidence and sometimes confront the suspect with the evidence?

  • Confrontational approach

    • The highest score on Confrontation factor

    • The second highest score on the Discussion of the crime factor

      • Confront the suspects not about inconsistencies between evidence and suspects’ accounts but by discussing their criminal offences and victims?

Result interviewing style1

Result: Interviewingstyle

  • Relationship focused approach

    • The highest scores on Active Listening, Rapport Building, and Discussion of the crime factors

      • Listen to the suspects’ stories very attentively, attempt to build a good relationship, and discuss the crime and victims to make the suspects think about them

  • Undifferentiated approach

    • The lowest scores on the five factors

      • Less likelyto employ specific interviewing techniques

Result information

Result: Information

  • One item: The suspect was willing to provide information unknown to the police

    • Main effects for confession type (F (1, 256) = 19.01, p < .001) and interviewing style F (3, 256) = 3.17, p = .003).

Result sympathy


  • Three items: I experienced the same feelings as the suspect did./ I felt affection for the suspect. / I felt sorry for the suspect.

    • Main effect for use of interviewing style, F (3, 259) = 3.19,

      p = .02.

Result suspects satisfaction

Result: Suspects’ satisfaction

  • Four items: The suspect appeared to experience a sense of relief./The suspect appeared to be pleased that he/she had confessed

    • Main effects for confession type (F (1, 256) = 39.04, p < .001) and interviewing style F (3, 256) = 5.06, p = .002).

Result suspects remorse

Result: Suspects’ remorse

  • Oneitem: The suspect appeared to regret having committed a crime.

    • Main effects for confession type (F (1, 256) = 20.98, p < .001) and interviewing style F (3, 256) = 4.36, p = .005).



  • Four types of interviewing styles were identified.

  • Police officers who employed the relationship focused approach were more likely

    • to sympathize with the suspects

    • to believe that the suspects disclosed information

    • to believe that the suspects were satisfied with their confessions and remorseful about their crimes



  • All ratings were provided by the police officers.

    • These are the police officers’ perspectives.

  • Studies examining the offenders’ opinions are needed.

    • I will survey prisoners about their feelings after being interrogated.



  • Holmberg, U. and S.-A. Christianson (2002). "Murders’ and sexual offenders’ experiences of police interviews and their inclination to admit and deny crimes." Behavioral Sciences and the Law,20: 31-45.

  • Holmberg, U., Christianson, S. Å., & Wexler, D. (2007). Interviewing offenders: A therapeutic jurisprudential approach. In S. Å. Christianson (Ed.), Offender's memories of violent crimes (pp. 355-371). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  • Kebbell, M., L. Alison, et al. (2008). "Sex offenders' perceptions of the effectiveness and fairness of humanity, dominance, and displaying an understanding of cognitive distortions in police interviews: A vignette study." Psychology Crime & Law14(5): 435-449.

Thank you very much for your listening

Thank you very much for your listening

Contact: [email protected]

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