Statement Protesting Execution of the Death Penalty and Reiterating our Request for the Suspension of Executions and the Launch of a Nationwide Debate on the Abolition of the Death Penalty
Two inmates were executed today at the Tokyo Detention House. These executions are deeply regrettable because this was the second time executions have been carried out under the current Justice Minister, Mr. Sadakazu Tanigaki, and because they fall only two months after the previous executions (which were carried out on February 21, 2013). Thus, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (“JFBA”) once again strongly protests these executions.
The JFBA submitted its “Request for the Launch of a Nationwide Debate on the Abolition of the Death Penalty, Suspension of Executions, and Taking Immediate Measures to Prevent Miscarriages of Justice Leading to the Death Penalty” to the Justice Minister, Mr. Tanigaki on February 12, 2013, in which we requested the following: i) to set up a meeting for experts to consider and discuss the initiation of a nationwide debate on interim issues regarding the death penalty system; ii) to openly disclose information on the death penalty system and the operation thereof to the general public; (iii) to conduct research on the current situation of other countries in relation to the death penalty system; (iv) to draw a conclusion on how the death penalty system should be like in the future based on the results of such research and debate; and v) to suspend executions for an indefinite period of time until such discussions have been exhausted, and so on. When the executions of three inmates were carried out on February 21, 2013, just after the JFBA submitted such Request on February 12, the JFBA issued a statement on such day strongly protesting such executions as well as making a request to the same effect to the Justice Minister, Mr. Tanigaki. We are once again entirely unable to accept today’s executions carried out just two months after the previous executions, in complete disregard of the JFBA’s requests.
The Justice Minister, Mr. Tanigaki, has expressed the stance he has been taking regarding the operation of the death penalty, explaining that he would “conduct a very careful and serious review on that matter.” However, since the processes and results of such review have not yet been disclosed, the possibility that executions may have been actively carried out in order to control the number of inmates on death row cannot be completely ruled out. Not only the JFBA but also various international bodies have also pointed out a wide variety of significant problems entailed in the death penalty system in Japan. Thus, we strongly recommend to Mr. Tanigaki that he refrain from making any hasty decisions regarding the matter and that he give deeper consideration to and face up to the problems involved in such issues.
As stated above, on this occasion, the JFBA hereby vigorously protests the executions carried out today as well as reiterates its request that the State 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.
April 26, 2013
Japan Federation of Bar Associations