Comment on the Execution of a Japanese Citizen and the Notice of Further Executions by the Chinese Government
Today, the Chinese government executed a Japanese man who had been convicted of attempting to smuggle narcotic drugs and was sentenced to death as a final and conclusive judgment. The Chinese government also gave notice to the Japanese government that it would execute three other Japanese men on death row.
Since Japan received the notice from the Chinese government, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) kept urging the Japanese government to clearly request that the Chinese government not carry out the execution in order to protect the right to life guaranteed for the Japanese people by Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (hereinafter referred to as the “Covenant”). However, it is deeply regrettable that the Japanese government only expressed its concern over the pressing execution and could not stop it.
The death penalty is the ultimate punishment which takes away people's lives and the loss from wrongful executions can never be recovered. Therefore, the Covenant suggests that abolition of the death penalty is desirable and even in countries which have not abolished it, the death penalty should be imposed only for the most serious crimes (Paragraph 2, Article 6). Furthermore, the UN Human Rights Committee is repeatedly expressing its opinion that crimes that do not result in loss of life, such as drug related crimes, are not the "most serious crimes." In addition, it was reported that the Japanese man who was executed had been disputing the qualification of an interpreter for interrogations during his trial and there is an extremely strong suspicion that his right to a fair trial provided by Article 14 of the Covenant was not guaranteed.
We deplore today's execution and the JFBA again strongly urges the Japanese government to firmly and clearly request that the Chinese government not carry out the executions of the three other Japanese men.
April 6, 2010
Japan Federation of Bar Associations