SECRET EXECUTION IN JAPAN: A STEP BACKWARDS

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MEDIA STATEMENT – 3 JULY 2014

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) condemns the execution of Masanori Kawasaki, aged 68 carried out on 26 June at Osaka Detention Center. There has been an alarming escalation in the use of the death penalty under Japan’s Liberal Democratic government. Nine people have been executed since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012.  Prior to this, for about 20 months there had been no known executions in Japan – and this gave hope that Japan was moving towards abolition of the death penalty.

This recent execution of Masanori Kawasaki is really disappointing more so since the recent release of Iwao Hakamada on 27 March 2014, who had spent 45 years on death row. In releasing Manori,  Judge Hiroaki Murayama had this to say, “There is a possibility that [key pieces of] evidence have been fabricated by investigative bodies..” [i].

About 128 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’. Masanori Kawasaki was allegedly executed in secrecy, whereby no one was notified of this beforehand.

ADPAN condemns executions conducted in secrecy, which is violation of human rights. Prior notification is essential to allow the time required for any actions and intervention to save a life.

ADPAN member in Japan, “…Center for Prisoners’ Rights, strongly condemns today’s execution and will continue its struggle to achieve a moratorium on executions and ultimate abolition of the death penalty”. The Japan Federation of the Bar Association is also demanding that capital punishment be halted and more information be disclosed to the public to spur a robust debate on the issue. In fact, the Japan Bar Association consistently called for the State to immediately introduce a moratorium on executions and initiate a nationwide debate on the abolition of the death penalty, by disclosing information concerning the death penalty to the general public, establishing an advisory committee at the Ministry of Justice, and taking other measures.

ADPAN, a network of Asia Pacific organizations and individuals working for the abolition of the death penalty, calls upon the Japanese government to adhere to the United Nations General Assembly Resolutions of 2012 and impose a moratorium on all executions,to commute all death sentences and to work towards the abolition of the death penalty for all crimes.

Charles Hector

For an on behalf of ADPAN

For further information, please contact Ms Nalini at contactadpan@gmail.com

*ADPAN member CPR issued a statement condemning the execution Masanori Kawasaki: http://www.cpr.jca.apc.org/archive/statement#1215

[i] theguardian.com, Thursday 27 March 2014, Japanese man freed after 45 years on death row as court orders retrial

 

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