Sorry, I can’t help you more, but as Kalle correctly realizes, I do not know of a good source in English for information on this subject. I can of course, weigh in with my opinion, and though I do of course know something of the subject, I’ve only studied it specifically once.
Basically, what’s wrong with the system is that trials are largely useless and too much depends on the judge. Therefore, it can be much more arbitrary and is far less democratic than in other countries. That said, its awfully hard to land yourself in jail or even with a fine by breaking regular laws, the amount to which people disobey traffic laws, weapon, working, public laws and import regulations is profoundly high. And really, not even the police seem to care. Its the more serious laws that you have a problem with, in that there’s little equality for women and you can be quite screwed if you get on the wrong side. You can get lowered sentences for confession because its considered part of good behavior to admit your shame for what you did (if you did it). There are much stricter laws about how much can be known publically about defendants and suspected criminals here, so that’s why foreign press is usually given the cold shoulder. The Japanese press knows the laws, whereas its often happened that foreign press has tried to do things that are considered illegal here. (Please note that I don’t have any memory of them being convicted for it, shows you how lenient the law can be here as simply a guidance and a hand-slapping.)
The yakuza of course, does have some involvement in this area, but that’s not surprising, 'cause they’re everywhere. Hell, I buy this wonderful fruit from a yakuza on one of my train stops and they aren’t exactly hidden like you would expect. Everyone just takes as granted. Its really no big news and nothing to get upset over: they simply don’t tip the boat enough to be worthwhile and just get their own out of trouble.
There is no absolutely no censorship or repression of the press. That’s ludicrous. Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the constitution. There is a certain segment that is extremely critical and nasty, precisely because the main news outlets prefer to be conservative and polite in their news coverage, so large criticism is rare. On the other hand, I believe we have one of the largest newspaper circulations and readership in the world, so maybe that’s the reason and its not entirely bad if all wants is to be informed and consider newspapers sources for facts, not opinion?
I’ve forgotten the rest, but that’s about all I can think of for now. If there’s anything you want to know, I guess I could give it a whirl…