2018 Volume 59 Issue 2 Pages 159-166
Forensic or investigative interviews are methods of eliciting as much accurate information as possible at minimum psychological burden from alleged victims and witnesses. The present paper describes the background and current situation regarding use of the forensic interview on children in Japan. Starting with a review on how the forensic interview was developed in the West, how it was brought into Japan, and how it is currently being used in our country, the aim, characteristics, and general procedure of the forensic interview were described. In particular, that (1) the aim of the forensic interview is to investigate what happened to a child, as opposed to psychological counseling or therapy, (2) emphasis is on the use of open-ended questions to elicit as much and as accurate information as possible, (3) the structured interview is designed to maximize extraction of free narrative, and (4) interviews are conducted by a multidisciplinary team and videotaped to reduce the number of interviews and minimize secondary trauma. Findings were presented from studies showing efficacy of open-ended questions compared to closed questions in eliciting more accurate information of greater credibility from children's testimonies. In closing, the recent collaboration between the Child Guidance Centers, Police, and Prosecutor's Office in Japan was described, alongside emphasis on the need for further collaboration with professionals in medical care as well as clinical psychology.