Article submitted by Kana Sasakura:
As Mark posted here, three men were hanged in Japan on March 29th 2012. These were the first executions in Japan since July 2010 when former Justice Minister Keiko Chiba (who was a long time opponent to the death penalty, by the way) executed two men. Read more about last week’s executions here.
Death penalty in Japan is carried out after the approval of the Justice Minister. Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa, who sent three men to the gallows on Thursday, is a strong believer of capital punishment. Ogawa terminated Ministry of Justice’s internal study panel, which was originally set up in August 2010 to review the use of death penalty (March 9th, 2012). Furthermore, he recently canceled the plans to set up a discussion panel, which would have allowed experts with different views on the subject to debate on the matter. Read the news here..
These recent decisions by Ogawa could cause a huge set back for the debate on capital punishment in Japan. They were immediately followed by a huge outrage from the death penalty critics.
As of April 2nd 2012, there are 132 people on death row in Japan.