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March 29, 2012

Japan gets back into death penalty business with three hangings

Recent political developments in Japan had led me and others to think that country might remove itself from the short list of developed nations still making regular use of the death penalty.  However, this new Reuters story, headlined "Japan hangs 3 murderers in first executions since 2010," suggests that capital punishment is not yet dead in the Land of the Rising Sun. Here are the details:

Japan hanged three convicted multiple murderers on Thursday, the Justice Ministry said, its first executions in almost two years putting it back alongside the United States as the only leading developed nations to carry out the death penalty. Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa authorized the executions of the three men and they were hanged in jails in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Fukuoka, the ministry said.

They were the first executions in Japan since two death row inmates were hanged in July 2010. Those executions marked the first time capital sentences had been carried out since the Democratic Party of Japan took power in late 2009.

There are currently 132 inmates on death row in Japan, Kyodo news agency reported. They include 13 members of the doomsday cult that staged deadly gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

Japanese media reported that one of the men executed on Thursday had killed five people at a train station in western Japan in 1999.

A government survey in 2009 showed that 86 percent of Japanese people supported the death penalty. Despite the delay between executions, there has been no formal moratorium on capital punishment.

Former justice minister Keiko Chiba, an opponent of the death penalty, authorized and attended the 2010 hangings and later allowed the media into the death chamber in an attempt to stir up public debate. Ogawa, who took office in a cabinet reshuffle in January, has said he would order executions of those on death row because the Japanese people supported capital punishment....

Japan and the United States are the only countries in the Group of Eight leading economies to carry out the death penalty. Both have been the target of strong criticism by Amnesty and other human rights groups.

March 29, 2012 at 06:14 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Justice!

Japanese vicims as well as all good Japanese will benefit.

Posted by: Adamakis | Mar 29, 2012 9:20:11 PM

Wasn't the death penalty supposed to be dying?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 30, 2012 10:03:31 AM

@Bill Otis
Wasn't the death penalty supposed to be dead outside of the US and some scary third-world dictatorships?

Posted by: MikeinCT | Mar 30, 2012 9:53:07 PM

MikeinCT --

Bingo!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 30, 2012 10:48:44 PM

I wanted these delayed. The protocol was not sufficiently clarified for me: the process has not been "challenged at trial on the merits.”

[The fact that "86 percent of Japanese people" uphold the death penalty is irrelevant to me.]

Posted by: Adamakis | Apr 2, 2012 11:10:03 AM

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