« Specifics and predictions concerning stay of Ohio's effort to re-execute Broom | Main | Reflective commentaries in the wake of Garrido's crimes »

September 19, 2009

Is Japan's death penalty now about to be killed?

When I teach the death penalty, I often urge student to note and reflect on the fact that Japan is like the US in being a modern industrialized democratic nation that has continued to use the death penalty.  But this new piece in The Times of UK, which is headlined "Japan’s death penalty effectively scrapped with arrival of Keiko Chiba," suggests I may soon have to update my teaching notes.  here is how the piece starts:

Capital punishment has been unofficially scrapped in Japan with the appointment of a left-wing justice minister who is an outspoken opponent of the country’s controversial system of secret executions.

Keiko Chiba, 61, a lawyer and former member of the Japan Socialist Party, has the final say in signing execution orders for the country’s 102 death-row inmates. Although she has declined to say explicitly whether or not she will authorise them, her 20-year record as an active death penalty abolitionist means that hangings will be put on hold after surging in the past three years....

Japan is the only industrialised democracy, apart from the United States, to maintain capital punishment. Campaigners opposed to the death penalty also say that it is carried out in a manner designed to avoid public scrutiny.

Once final appeals have been exhausted, death-row inmates can meet only their lawyers and immediate family members. Hangings are usually carried out during parliamentary holidays to prevent the subject from being raised in parliament. The condemned prisoner is told of his imminent execution only a few hours before it is carried out. His family are informed afterwards, when they are invited to collect his remains.

September 19, 2009 at 03:05 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Is Japan's death penalty now about to be killed?:


"Japan is the only industrialised democracy, apart from the United States, to maintain capital punishment."

Doesn't Singapore qualify as an industrialized democracy? I think Singapore has a per capita execution rate which is even more appalling than that of the United States (although, in fairness, anything above zero is appalling as far as I am concerned).

Posted by: JC | Sep 19, 2009 5:21:09 PM

JC: What about the 17,000 extra-judicial executions by the lawyer client, allowed and encouraged by the lawyer?

Nothing from the left about those.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 19, 2009 6:43:01 PM

Shaddap, you twit.

Posted by: JC | Sep 19, 2009 7:12:54 PM

JC: You upset by something? Rudeness does strengthen your argument (not being sarcastic here). That is because the facts deserted the left 100 years ago. And nothing remains for the left but personal attack. The left killed 100 million people to impose its ideology, and still failed to persuade.

What about the 17,000 executions that take place yearly by the lawyer client? Those are still with us. These are 40% lower than they used to be. So the lawyer scuttled the guidelines, and they should be getting back to their former level in the next five years. Naturally, black folks carry a six fold heavier burden in murder victimization so that lawyer can make a living.

What about those extra-judicial executions? They are so predictable, uninterrupted, and certain, they all belong to the lawyer as if the lawyer had butchered these folks in person. I would like to see the families of these million victims rise in self help against the criminal lover lawyer.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 19, 2009 7:53:14 PM

Why don't you piss off back to your Misogynists Anonymous meeting, you miserable wank? All you do is clutter this place up with your 123Dingbat nonsense. No one here cares what you think because no one here even bothers taking you seriously. You are either an extraordinarily overzealous prankster or a profoundly disturbed human being. In either event, your contributions here are utterly frivolous.

Posted by: JC | Sep 19, 2009 8:13:45 PM

JC: All that may be true. However, what about the 17,000 extra-judicial executions every year, courtesy of lawyer rent seeking? That is a fact of nature, that even my assassination will not change.

I really appreciate your remark. You are the only one here stupid enough to reply to me. You made my day.

Japan has one twentieth the number of lawyers per capita as the US. They have an extremely low crime rate. That is not a coincidence. I anticipate that as the number of lawyers increases, their crime rate will increase as well, to generate lawyer jobs.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 19, 2009 8:26:43 PM

"JC: All that may be true."

What, that you're a worthless misogynist wank who clutters this place up with your 123Dildo nonsense, and that your contributions here are unqualifiedly frivolous? Are you even listening to yourself, you twit?

Posted by: JC | Sep 20, 2009 1:08:29 AM

"Doesn't Singapore qualify as an industrialized democracy? I think Singapore has a per capita execution rate which is even more appalling than that of the United States (although, in fairness, anything above zero is appalling as far as I am concerned)."

Taiwan also continues to use the death penalty.

Posted by: CB | Sep 20, 2009 5:06:04 AM

Japan has good social cohesion, low feminist ideology penetration into the hierarchy, and very low crime. They intentionally make it nearly impossible to become a lawyer. We should be imitating them. They should not be imitating the rest of the world.

Frivolousness does not upset. What does? The truth, especially if from 10th grade World History and erased by lawyer criminal cult indoctrination. JC can't be a lawyer, at least I hope not. If it is a law student, we have no dispute and I want to help.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 20, 2009 5:34:42 AM

Seriously JC name calling? What are you in the 11th grade?

Posted by: Anon | Sep 20, 2009 9:41:53 AM

Inducing name calling is a trial advocacy tactic that can be learned. It will get a rebuke from the judge. The jury that has no idea what is going on takes the rebuke as a signal as to which way to vote. If JC will get involved in the law, even as a party, it should not fall for that trick.

Back to Japan. One reason for the low crime rate is that the criminal suffers in prison, and does not get a vacation at government expense.

These criminal lovers don't like it, but this article is a good blueprint for the proper way to run a prison. I would add that all violent third felonies in prison should result in the death penalty. These criminals cannot be deterred. The death penalty would serve to just get rid of the unmanageable person, for the safety of others, including family and fellow prisoners.


Guards should be allowed to beat dangerous, recalcitrant prisoners. In our prisons, gangs run the place. That is not appropriate. The leaders of these gangs should all be executed after brief administrative trials inside the prison.

This can only happen after getting rid of the rent seeking lawyer. The lawyer will allow no effective remedy save endless paper shuffling legal procedures, none of which have any validation as beneficial. The result is that the executions are 17,000 a year, and entirely extra-judicial.

An Amendment should pass excluding all lawyers from all benches, all legislative seats, and all responsible policy positions in the Executive.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 20, 2009 10:37:26 AM

"Seriously JC name calling? What are you in the 11th grade?"

You're right, name calling is an immature thing to do. I apologize.

Posted by: JC | Sep 20, 2009 1:59:00 PM

JC: I respect your privacy, but I am curious if you are a law student. We have a lot to discuss if you are. The law and its rescue are in your hands. No one else can do it.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 20, 2009 4:38:03 PM

SC, I apologize for berating you. Don't get me wrong, I still think that you are a complete crackpot, but I am sorry for having treated you in such a meanspirited manner.

Posted by: JC | Sep 20, 2009 5:19:04 PM

Don't worry about it. Personal attacks and lawyer hissy fits come with the task of lovingly correcting the lawyer. My stuff is from 10th Grade World History. Their cult indoctrination made them forget it. Whenever deprogramming takes place, the cult victim makes a ruckus, kicks his feet, spits, and uses unhelpful language. One can consider it intellectual withdrawal reaction. That is why custody of the body is essential to successful deprogramming.

If you are not affiliated with the lawyer business, I can report, matters are 100 times worse than the public realizes.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 20, 2009 5:46:26 PM

"Hangings are usually carried out during parliamentary holidays to prevent the subject from being raised in parliament. "

While Japan is free to do as it wishes, I think this is one of the first times I have seen such a naked assertion that DP proponents really want to keep the issue from honestly being LEGISLATIVELY debated.

In the US, we at least pretend that the secrecy of executions is for some other reason (such as privacy). But in Japan, they make no bones about it: the public might not like the execution if they knew about it, so they keep it secret.

Posted by: S.cotus | Sep 20, 2009 9:19:53 PM

Executions should remain private to prevent the reward of publicity and glamor from encouraging murder. The Japanese have criminal law right. We should adopt their approaches to have their extremely low crime rate. One feature of Japanese society is their number of lawyers for the population, one twentieth that of our nation. Adopting that number as a matter of policy will immediately eliminate crime, as in Japan.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 20, 2009 11:29:22 PM

"The Japanese have criminal law right. We should adopt their approaches to have their extremely low crime rate."

Why should the United States adopt Japan's approach? Singapore maintains a highly adversarial legal system which is similar to that utilized by the United States and the United Kingdom; indeed, Singapore has established one of the finest legal systems on the face of the Earth. The Singaporean criminal justice system is supported by extremely talented prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys, and it is overseen by judicial officers of great integrity. Moreover, it is a society which has managed to achieve one of the highest standards of living on the planet, notwithstanding the fact that it is an independent city-state which has enjoyed sovereign authority for only a handful of decades. As any Singaporean will likely tell you, a criminal justice system which is highly aggressive and highly adversarial in nature poses no obstacle to the development of a very favorable society.

Posted by: JC | Sep 21, 2009 12:37:48 AM

JC: The adversarial system violates the Establishment Clause. It was a method of Scholasticism to test assertions and to arrive at some conclusion. It comes from a church.

Beyond its unlawful church origins, there is no validation of it as a method of determining guilt. I would appreciate even reliability statistics, the first step to validation. Reliability means repeatability, between raters, between the same rater at different times.

We are getting inklings of the limits of the adversarial system from the Innocence Project. After spending $million, there is one innocent person for 5 executed.

I am not saying 20% of the 3000 people on death row are innocent. No one has done that study. I am saying, every year, you find 1 innocent person for 5 executed. If 30 people are executed in a year, you find 6 people are proven innocent. No one knows the rate of innocence on death row.

Assume it is 20%. That coincides with the standard of the burden of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt. That means the verdict is made with about 80% certainty. Perhaps, statutes should raise that standard to 95% or 99% certainty. The statute should also exclude witness testimony. It is likely all witness testimony is fairy tale, false memory implanted by the lawyer on one side or the other. All witness testimony should be corroborated by physical evidence. "Tell what you saw, Wednesday, March 12, 2008." It is impossible to reliably remember anything, except for the implanted false memories, recounted by the lawyer.

I know, you disapprove, but 123D solves the problem of the incompetence of the lawyer and of the invalidity of the adversarial process. It admits the universe is statistical, and nothing is certain. If the person is innocent of the third offense, his execution is not false. We know he is a bad guy from his prior convictions for 2 other violent offenses. Even with the maintenance of beyond a reasonable doubt (80%) certainty for each trial, the third offense represents a 1% chance of innocence, not an appalling 20%.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 21, 2009 1:55:30 AM

This works in Singapore. Corporal punishment is cheap punishment. Singapore has a very low crime rate.


Prof. Berman will never post any item supporting the use of effective physical and cheap punishment. The reason is that punishment in the US is not to deter crime, but to pretextually grow government by the left.

Nor will he ever post any item showing the crime rate in the lawyer residence neighborhood is lower than in Japan or Singapore, and approaches infinitesmally small. Why? Where the lawyer lives, there is no trial, no caning, no verdict. An armed robber will find himself surrounded by three police cars. College educated police emerge and always blast away. The death penalty is immediate and at the scene for any poor sap who makes the mistake of acting up in a lawyer neighborhood.

That is where the lawyer lives. Where the lawyer works, it's Fallujah City. The lawyer herds crime into the residential neighborhoods of dark skinned folks, for some reason, and it always delivers the rent.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 21, 2009 2:09:24 AM

SC: Like JC, I guess I am "stupid enough to reply" to you. I guess I didn't learn my lesson before, when I responded to your postings on Professor Berman's class blog. And while you like to criticize Professor Berman, this blog allows you a convenient forum to promote your views. Also, you should know that Professor Berman strongly encourages his law students to freely debate their views, even to a hostile audience. While you assume Professor Berman uses this blog to promote only his views, I see it more as a vehicle to promote discussion and debate among the interested parties and an attempt to find some semblance of truth in the convoluted world of criminal sentencing.

I assume the 17,000 "extra-judicial executions" you frequently reference is based on the yearly U.S. murder rate. You seem to be making an assumption that all murders are preventable through your 123D proposal. You might be correct if all future murderers had the decency to be caught for three other crimes before they are allowed to murder. How do account for the murders caused by serial killers and the insane, sudden passion, and others who have no previous run-ins with the judicial system? What is the lawyers' failing in those cases? Lack of clairvoyance?

Also, I don't understand how your ideas to eliminate lawyers would make the U.S. a safer country. Just today I read an article about the violence of the international drug trade in West Africa and Mexico where the police, prosecutors, and judges participate in maintaining the violence through bribes and blind-eyes. I believe our rule of law, even with its flaws, helps prevent us from falling into the quagmires of corruption and violence of these countries. Since I know you disagree, I would like to know how you would keep everyone safe while eliminating our current judicial system. Please explain.


Posted by: Shawn | Sep 21, 2009 12:01:11 PM

I hope you love the law. It will be in your hands now. There is no lawyer today that will understand this. The student is the only hope of the law.

1) All Medieval, supernatural, Scholasticist doctrine must go. Beyond their scientific invalidity, they violate the Establishment Clause, coming from the Catholic Church. Imagine a Sharia based jurisprudence, no less unacceptable.

2) The self-stated goals of the law are in failure. There has to be an upgrade in competence, and new methodologies to achieve these goals. If the EBay reporting system enforces 95% of transactions, and lawyer contract law makes it impossible to enforce any contract under $million, and is worthless for most promises, make the Ebay reporting system the new contract law.

3) The legal meaning of evidence has to be replaced with the scientific meaning of evidence.

4) Progress is slow because one had to wait for everyone that believes in incompetent methods to die, e.g the Soviet Union. Because of the risk to the nation, executing the hierarchy (about 15,000 people) would accelerate change.

5) Law making, repealing law, are all ghoulish human experimentation. Law making requires proof of safety and efficacy in small jurisdictions, then in larger jurisdictions. Without such testing, human experimentation is a crime against humanity.

6) Rule of law is an essential utility product. We can no more live without it than without water and electricity. In Fallujah, personal security was a full time job. Nothing else got done. It needs to work better.

7) I actually believe in torts, and oppose tort reform. I want to end all lawyer self-dealt immunities to improve the profession. This open liability includes judges, and includes the Supreme Court. They are not better than a welder or car maker. They should be subjected to malpractice claims heard by a jury.

I know you have to make a living and are overwhelmed by trying to through school. Keep an open mind about how nothing from 1250 AD is in any way acceptable in any practice today. Look for this issue in any specialty you choose. "Is this proposed doctrine by the other side a fact in nature?" If it is not, demand a mistrial and all costs to the personal assets of the utterer. To deter garbage. For example, mind reading and future forecasting. Not facts in nature.

This stuff may have practical utility in advocacy. The lawyer is a quick learner.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 21, 2009 7:16:15 PM

"JC: The adversarial system violates the Establishment Clause."

The adversarial system is mandated by the Sixth Amendment. Surely the Establishment Clause and the Sixth Amendment must be read in harmony with one another.

Posted by: JC | Sep 21, 2009 11:15:08 PM

The Sixth Amendment allows a judge run, inquisitorial trial with a jury deciding the facts. What clause precludes that?

The adversarial system has no scientific validation or even reliability statistics to support it. Scientific validation has only been used in two SC decisions. However, because science means, "verifiable," science is a minimum requirement for the procedural due process right to a fair hearing. The adversarial system encourages theater and fictional depictions.

The adversarial system is expensive, but generates lawyer jobs. Its origin in the Scholasticist method of arriving at a conclusion by a disputation makes it a Church process.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Sep 22, 2009 7:06:24 AM

India might not count as an "industrialized" democracy, but it is the world's largest democracy and has a common law tradition dating back to the many years it was a British colony. It also has the death penalty.

Indeed, while DP opponents often try to portray the United States as in the company of only a handful of "barbaric" countries, the truth is that most of the world -- which we have no business condemning as barbaric -- has the death penalty. It exists in the Orient, in Islamic countries and Africa. And it is supported by majorities (some large and some small) in a number of European and South American countries as well.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 22, 2009 8:05:03 PM

Abolishing the death penalty is the last thing Japan needs to do.
Just look at the UK who abolished the death penalty in 1965. There were less than 300 murders that year.
Last year it was just under 1,000 murders.

Japan is one of the safest countries in the world to live. They must keep it that way.
Those who murder forfeit the right to life in accordance with the fact that they took the life of an innocent person by virtue of the fact that they killed in the first place.

Posted by: Gavin Staples | Sep 23, 2009 6:45:24 PM

It seems to me that the real issue is a philosophical one that breaks into a few questions which are answered in relativist framework:

Is the judicial system perfect?
Yes--Then it is fair to say that for the betterment of society, one must remove the problem.

No--Then it is impossible to ever know for certain if the court is sending an innocent person to die or not which, I assume for the sake of time, that that is morally objectionable to those viewing this blog.

In other words, it is a dangerous game to play when one suggests the use of broad-sweeping tactics such as capital punishment. It has disturbing similarity in the basis for reason to eugenics. One believes that a certain group is a detriment to society and so they make the decision to remove that group. However, the format by which one distinguishes which group ought to be removed is not perfect, and thus, groups that otherwise might evolve and beautify a society are irreversibly destroyed.

It depends on where you place value. If you believe that sacrificing innocents to remove some non-innocents from society, then, yes, capital punishment is right. However, if you believe in letting free a thousand criminals for the sake of one innocent, then you must avoid capital punishment.

Not to mention that keeping them in prison is also removing them from society and if one truly wished to reduce crime they would develop societal reform (better education, better social programs that teach rather than hand out etc) and attack the problem at its root rather than slap a band-aid on the issue.

Posted by: Phil | Nov 8, 2009 12:24:02 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB