The Fight Against the Death Penalty in Japan
12:30-13:30 Friday, January 27, 2022
(The speech and Q & A will be in Japanese with English interpretation)
Hiroaki Uno, Executions Pending Request for Retrial, Defense Attorneys'Team,
Yutaka Ueda, Executions with immediate notice, Defense Attorneys' Team
Kyouji Mizutani, Injunction against execution by hanging, Defense Attorneys' Team
Takeshi Kaneko, Counsel for the plaintiffs of three lawsuits
Last year, 125 countries signed a UN General Assembly resolution demanding member countries begin scrapping the death penalty. Just 37 countries opposed the resolution (22 abstained), including the United States, China, North Korea – and Japan. Japan was one of just 18 countries that carried out executions in 2021.
Opponents of the death penalty have long viewed Japan's membership of that shrinking global club as an embarrassment. They have also singled out many of the routine elements of Japan's death penalty, in particular the refusal to notify death-row prisoners until the morning of their execution. This year, a group of these opponents will once again try to legally challenge state-funded executions in this country.
The speakers are demanding compensation for "damage caused by executions while a request for retrial is pending", another against hanging (the usual method of execution in Japan) and a third against the practice of same-day notifications of prisoners on death row, which has been widely condemned as uniquely cruel. The lawsuits come as the use of the gallows in Japan comes under ever more intense scrutiny and criticism.
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