Living conditions

Prisoners sleep on

a bed

Two types of accommodation are provided for inmates, single rooms and group rooms. Every standard room is equipped with table(s), a small desk for learning and cleaning materials.

All the prisoners are provided with bedding


The cells/dormitories are equipped with heating and/or air conditioning

in some cases

Complaints about illness due to cold are frequently reported. Japanese prisons are rarely heated, and never air-conditioned. In some institutions clothing and blankets are insufficient to protect inmates against cold weather.

Prisoners can smoke


Cigarettes are not allowed in Japanese detention facilities.

Showers are located in the cells/dormitories


Opportunities for bathing are provided twice a week in winter and three times in summer. Anything beyond this is at the discretion of each institution. The bathing time allocated is 15 minutes on average (20 minutes on average for women).

Types of sanitary facilities

regular toilets

Sanitary facilities are clean, adequate and accessible


The prison service provides personal hygiene products free of charge


The prison service provides cleaning products free of charge


Penal institutions lend inmates clothing (uniforms) and bedding. However, pre-trial detainees can use self-supplied clothing and bedding. Sentenced inmates can also use self supplied underwear and socks.

Laundry equipment is available in each establishment. Prison laundries are staffed by inmates.

Each detainee contributes to the cleaning of cells and prison facilities, with elderly or handicapped prisoners assisted by others.

Drinking water is free and available in all areas of the facilities


Number of meals per day


Food services are managed by


Prisoners are in charge of preparing the meals.

The prison service is required to meet nutritional standards regarding quality and quantity


Meals are served three times a day and are strictly rationed based on prison calorie standards. These standards are calculated according to each inmate’s gender, health condition, height (but not weight) and nature of their assigned work in the prison.
Meals are often considered insufficient and are regularly the cause of prisoner weight loss. Meals are usually based on rice with barley, some root vegetables and small amounts of fish or meat. Foreigners can opt for bread instead of rice.

The prison service provides food that respects special dietary needs


Medical needs are considered by prison administration on a case-by-case basis, but must be authorized by a prison doctor. Inmates must submit a request for an allergy test if required. Most prisons can accommodate Muslim or Hindu eating requirements, however, religious preferences should be declared upon admission to the prison.

Prisoners can buy food products


Remand prisoners only are able to purchase food from outside suppliers.