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Although the majority of Japanese society is proud of the traditional system, there are considerable minorities of people who do not agree with the system.There is much controversy surrounding the social and legal treatment of minorities.The Constitution and the Criminal Code include safeguards to ensure that no criminal suspect can be compelled to make a self-incriminating confession or be convicted or punished in cases where the only evidence against the accused is his own confession.The appellate courts overturned some convictions in recent years on the grounds that they were obtained as a result of coerced confessions.Article 14 of the Japanese Constitution guarantees equality between the sexes.The percentage of women in full-time jobs grew steadily during the 1980s and early 1990s.The Diet's passage of the Law for Equal Opportunity in Employment for Men and Women in 1985 is of some help in securing women's rights, even though the law is a "guideline" and entails no legal penalties for employers who discriminate (see Working women in Japan).In several cases, the courts have acknowledged that confessions were forced and ordered prisoners released.
Japan also practices the death penalty, to which the U. objects, as do several prominent NGOs and the European Union (see Capital punishment in Japan).
Softer leather handcuffs without body belts were instituted as substitute restraining devices.
Amnesty International has urged Japan to reform its police interrogation methods.
Japan's fertility problem hit a new low last year: 2016 was the first year since 1899 that fewer than one million babies were born in the country.
New data suggests the trend isn't poised to let up anytime soon.