Comment on Further Executions of Three Japanese Men by the Chinese Government
Today, the Chinese government carried out executions of three Japanese men who were convicted of attempting to smuggle narcotic drugs and sentenced to death as final and conclusive judgments. In addition to a Japanese man executed on April 6, a total of four Japanese men were executed by the Chinese government within only the past four days.
Since the Chinese government gave notice to the Japanese government about a planned execution in late March, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) kept urging the Japanese government to prevent the execution by clearly making a request to the Chinese government. The JFBA strongly urged the Japanese government further to make a clear request in order to prevent more executions after the Chinese government carried out the execution of the first Japanese man on April 6.
The JFBA deeply deplores that despite its repeated requests, the Japanese government never made a clear request for protecting the right to life of the Japanese people and four precious lives have been taken away.
As we mentioned in our previous statement, it is not acceptable based on international human rights law to apply the death penalty to drug crimes as in this case. In addition, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment recommended in a report on China in 2006 that the scope of the death penalty be reduced, e.g. by abolishing it for economic and non-violent crimes. Furthermore, China ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1988, and the UN Committee Against Torture recommended that the Chinese government review its legislation with a view to restricting the imposition of the death penalty (Paragraph 34, the Concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of China in 2008).
The Chinese government is failing to fulfill its obligation under the human rights treaty which it ratified and even if the Japanese government expressed its opinion against the Chinese government's actions, it would not be considered as interference in China's domestic affairs as we understand from the universal periodic review conducted by the UN Human Rights Council.
Presuming a similar situation where the Japanese people face the death penalty, not only in China but also other countries, the JFBA reiterates its strong request that the Japanese government never take a similar attitude but stand firm to protect the right to life of the Japanese people.
April 9, 2010
Japan Federation of Bar Associations