Thursday, December 28, 2006

More on the Death Penalty in Japan

JapanFile (March 2002):
Carrying out the Sentence

The procedure for execution in Japan is opaque and carried out in [secret]. Executions are performed not at prisons, but at detention centers. Those on death row are never sent to prison, but remain in the detention center until an appeal is won or their execution is carried out. The method used is hanging, a procedure which has been abandoned in many places because it can result in beheading. Executions are usually carried out on Friday mornings, and convicts are not given advance notification. Surviving any Friday past nine a.m. guarantees another week of life. The names of the executed are never announced publicly, and the act of execution may not be acknowledged until well after the event. Even family and attorneys are not informed of the deaths firsthand - they learn of the executions when the detention center requests that a prisoner's possessions or ashes be picked up.

Historically, executions have been carried out while the Diet is in recess, a strategic tactic by the LDP to avoid political criticism. Last year [2001], two inmates, one in Nagoya and one in Tokyo, were hung on December 27. The day was politically well chosen. Not only was the Diet out; but two other trials overshadowed the executions. Prosecutors in Utsunomiya, Tochigi requested death for Shinozawa Kazuo, accused of killing six women in a jewelry store heist last June, and Takuma Mamoru, the perpetrator of the Ikeda elementary school murders entered a guilty plea in Osaka and requested the death penalty.

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