21 February 2013
The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) condemns the executions of Masahiro Kanagawa, 29, Kaoru Kobayashi, 44, and Keiki Kano, 62, carried out in Japan on Thursday 21 February.
The executions are the first to take place in Japan since Prime Minister Abe’s Liberal Democrat Party came to power in December 2012.
Masahiro Kanagawa, 29, was hanged at Tokyo Detention Centre, along with Kaoru Kobayashi, 44, at Osaka Detention Centre and Keiki Kano, 62, at Nagoya Detention Centre. It is believed that both Kobayashi and Kano were in the process of preparing to apply for retrials.
Justice Minister Tanigaki, who took office in December 2012, has publicly expressed his support for the death penalty. During Abe’s last term as Prime Minister ten people were hanged in less than a year.
ADPAN fears that today’s executions may see an acceleration in the number of executions under the current administration. This would be in spite of calls from multiple UN bodies for Japan to work towards abolition. In October last year, during the Second Review of Japan’s human rights situation by the UN Human Rights Council, as many as 24 countries made recommendations related to reviewing the use of the death penalty. Japan stands out as one of the few industrialised countries to still use the death penalty.
It is estimated that 134 people are on death row in Japan. Nineteen offences carry the death penalty, although in practice it is only imposed for murder. Executions are by hanging and are typically carried out in secret. No advance notice is given to their families and lawyers. The death row inmates themselves are only notified on the morning they are hanged living under constant fear of execution.
ADPAN is also concerned that Japan relies heavily on the daiyo kangoku system, which allows the police to detain and interrogate a suspect for up to twenty-three days with very limited access to legal counsel and puts suspects at risk of torture and ill-treatment.
ADPAN opposes the death penalty in all cases, and calls upon the Japanese government to place a moratorium on all executions, to commute all death sentences and to work toward abolition of the death penalty for all crimes.
ADPAN members in Japan:
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