2 inmates hanged, bringing number of executions to 5 under Abe


Japan said Friday it hanged two death-row inmates, in the first executions since a trio of convicted killers died in the gallows two months ago and drawing immediate protest from human rights groups.

Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki told reporters that Katsuji Hamasaki, 64, and Yoshihide Miyagi, 56, two members of a crime syndicate, were executed for the shooting of two rival gangsters at a restaurant in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, in 2005.

The executions bring to five the number of death-row inmates hanged since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's conservative government swept to power in landslide December elections.

Japan now has 134 inmates on its death row.

Amnesty International Japan, the Japanese branch of the global rights group, protested Friday.

"We strongly condemn the five executions conducted since the launch of the new government, which goes against calls by the international community and indicates the government's intention to pave the way for mass executions," it said in a statement.

Tokyo did not execute any condemned inmates in 2011, the first full year in nearly two decades without an execution amid muted debate on the rights and wrongs of a policy that enjoys wide public support.

But in March last year, Tokyo resumed its use of capital punishment with an unapologetic government minister signing death warrants for three multiple murderers.

Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialised democracy to carry out capital punishment, a practice that has led to repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups.

International advocacy groups say the system is cruel because death row inmates can wait for their executions for many years in solitary confinement and are only told of their impending death a few hours ahead of time.

© (C) 2013 AFP

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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"are only told of their impending death a few hours ahead of time" I bet that's more time than their victims got.

23 ( +34 / -14 )

yay! less scum on the earth.

8 ( +22 / -14 )

two members of a crime syndicate, were executed for the shooting of two rival gangsters at a restaurant in Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, in 2005.

That is unusual. Normally this would have landed them 7 to 10 years, and they would have been met outside the prison gate by dozens of their gang colleagues upon release. I wonder what promoted this new policy.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Any particular reason Japan is keeping Asahara alive for so long?

12 ( +15 / -5 )

"...and are only told of their impending death a few hours ahead of time."

Sure, but the fact they are on death row should be a bit of a hint that the gallows are beckoning. And as @sensei258 points out, murder victims generally aren't expecting to have their lives taken from them.

As for rival gangsters, well, it could be argued that they buy into that kind of life style, but we can't be shooting people willy nilly in restaurants.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Crime does not pay.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Collective revenge rears it's head again! When is Japan going to become more "civilized"?

-1 ( +11 / -13 )

I wouldn't really be concerned about these executions at all, that is if they really are guilty. Deserved or not, the police in this country do have a slightly fringed reputation.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

" #HangmanJapan " don't do the crime if you don't want hang

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Cruel? Um...ANYBODY who raped or murders, let alone the people already on death row, did a WAY more cruel thing than them having to wait for execution because of hurting another person. What THEY did is cruel, they can wait as long as they need, it's punishment. My goodness...

3 ( +7 / -4 )

not Honest Abe but Gallows Abe? Watch out China and Korea, this man doesn't brook any messing around!!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Justin Everett at Apr. 26, 2013 - 03:16PM JST " #HangmanJapan " don't do the crime if you don't want hang

That doesn't even rhyme..

6 ( +6 / -0 )

a barbaric reminder that too many countries are unable to provide anything more than blood-lust revenge for criminals; condemning murder on one hand, but committing it with the other. Barbaric and very, very sad. A truly atheist, humanist society wouldn't allow such barbarity.

-1 ( +9 / -11 )


asahara commited his crime and was convicted before japan created a new law to shorten the time between the sentencing and hanging. usually it takes about eight years after a final appeal, which he had in 2006, to hang someone. in addition, his partners in crime were arrested recently, and he could provide information regarding their cases.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

" Japan is the only major industrialised democracy"

Please, please for the sake of the world. Japan is NOT a democracy and has never been. The so-called democracy in Japan is all illusion. It doesn't exist.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

With 23 days of pre-charge incarceration without a lawyer in order to force confessions from suspects and a laughable 99% conviction rate (largely based on said confessions) every human living in Japan should be hopeful of a repeal of the death penalty.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

@VIrtuoso: "That is unusual. Normally this would have landed them 7 to 10 years,.."


@everyone happy at the news and assuming being on death row means you're guilty.

I think you have more faith in the police/prosecutorial process here than I have.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yes, there is something a bit odd about this. The usual calculation is that if there is only one murder victim there is no death penalty. Here there were two murderers and two victims. Perhaps 2 divided by 2 proved just beyond the esteemed judges. I suspect they blathered something like "it endangered other people around so we will arbitrarily pronounce the death sentence to keep up the illusion that safety for the masses is the primary concern of us in the elite".

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I support Abe 100% criminals that kill other people or rape should be executed. There is no rights for them , they lose their right once they commit a crime. Why should we keep them alive and pay for their shelter and food?

And about giving them a warning few hours ahead is a good damn thing they never warn people when they are about to rape a woman or stab someone or kill. If they treat humans like nothing and decide to bucher them than we shouldnt treat them as humans.

0 ( +7 / -8 )

A truly atheist, humanist society wouldn't allow such barbarity.

You say that as if its the goal every society should aspire to. How arrogant.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

If Judges, Police, Lawyers and people that celebrate the death of a death row person knew they would be executed for executing a later proven innocent person would their judgments be different? Because history has proven innocent people have been and continue to be executed! I am proud that constitutionally capital punishment can never be introduced into Australia again!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

**I'm sad to see our societies become more aggressive and barbaric when simple boundaries are taken away. The boundaries I'm talking about are real punishments for real crimes. The crime in the uk has increased greatly due to the fact that many criminals know they'll get off lightly. Human rights activist I am, however what about the rights of the victims!? "Do the crime pay the time!" is accepted universally by criminals however, within the under-world shooting each other surely is a realm of law within a sub culture best left alone. I recognise a "shoot-out" in a place where the innocent Joe public is eating is unacceptable so potentially this act needed repaying with short sharp and swift retribution on behalf of said Joe and Joan public. Power is a terrifying thing in the hands of the unwise so it does seem to me that there's a lot of political change in Japan and with change friction is inevitable. I'm sad for the families of the executed but also for the victims of their heinous money making ventures!!! Just saying ...

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Gangsters killing gangsters...

Give them a cigar for providing a public service before hanging them then.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Killing people is wrong, no matter who does it.

0 ( +7 / -8 )

Jaymann said "a barbaric reminder that too many countries are unable to provide anything more than blood-lust revenge for criminals; condemning murder on one hand, but committing it with the other. Barbaric and very, very sad. A truly atheist, humanist society wouldn't allow such barbarity."

While I agree with most of that, do up think Japan executes because it's such a deeply religious nation?! It's just cold-blooded revenge. Pure and simple.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Honestly I don't see the problem, there are more horrific ways a man can die. Also if someone was given a week in advance when they are going to die it could cause problems with people trying to break out of prison

3 ( +4 / -1 )

AkariYoshida, this made me grin:

if someone was given a week in advance when they are going to die it could cause problems with people trying to break out of prison

Yeah, coz they were in prison having such a fabulous time doing hard labour and sitting sezar that they wouldn't have even considered a break out unless they thought the rope beckoned eh!

The problem here is the police interrogations, unrecorded "interviews", 23 days in which torture is permitted to extract confessions, the number of innocent people who have been sentenced to life, or death, having been coerced into confessing, and so it goes on. The death penalty is too final for me. Until we can bring back those wrongly executed, this practice should be put on hold.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Like stated above, they callously took the lives of others...believing the were above the law of who lives and doesn't . I am almost positive that anyone who signs a paper slating the death of someone even if a horrendous crime was committed would still have a hard time sleeping ...for the rest of their lives . What's weighed..disregard for life , cost of supporting them, family vengeance ..hang em high !!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Perhaps they will finally get to execute Shoko Asahara & his fellow Aum members who commited the Tokyo sarin gas attacks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What's really sad is the people condemning the death penalty are all hypocrites or just plain stupid. If it was your son or daughter that lost their life in the hands of someone ..are you going to be so forgiving ?? Take up religion or forgive the person who took someone from you ?? I think not and if you do you are a complete idiot and that's why the world is in the state it's in (added moronic contribution)

Yes I think the 99% conviction rate is crap ! Yes I think the judicial system (here) starting from interrogation needs to be revamped. But at the same time I think where there is smoke there's usually fire. Why should we as tax payers pay to provide sustainable resources to some person who decided to take a life.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )


I have never said that other countries have a perfect democracy, my point was that Japan does not have the beginning of one. Now anyone would certainly ague that Swiss or Scandinavian countries have very good democracies. So don't worry I am not confused....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Crazedinjapan: a death does not give you back a life. This is the role of society to step back from emotion and apply justice and not revenge!

And I am fed up with the argument that society should get rid of inmates by killing them to save tax money. This is a really idiot argument!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Not the death penalty, no! How about life in a dungeon with no door and no toilet. That's a way better sentence. Real suffering! To anyone who has inflicted horror on another human being.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

You death penalty supporters need to learn 1 simple phrase that would separate you from the likes of people on death row- otherwise you're no different: "Two wrongs do not make a right." Nor will they ever. After all, all these gang members did was get revenge on a rival gang... According to your values, you are supporting their decision to do so. It's in fact done even more cruelly in the hands of the government, as every morning they have to wake up thinking today might be the day.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Japan has my full support in enforcing the death penalty and also great respect for not yielding to outside pressures. No developed countries throw this scum into dungeons to rot as they deserve to so why keep them locked up for the remainder of their lives at public expense? Japan does not impose the death penalty casually so when it is given it is deserved. Now, just get rid of the remaining 134.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

True ganstas would have committed seppuku before getting caught.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

@Quinten that frame of mind makes you no better than the Boston terrorists. Killing and hurting a human for what is unjust to YOU. To the Boston terrorists, not giving worship to the right god is a treachery deserving a merciless death. All they were doing was going through with their beliefs, just like this government is going through with theirs.

Both are no better than cold blooded murder.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Nice Headline! JTs a professional organization the would never deny freedom of speech! FU!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Two wrongs do not make a right."

Your issue lies in the definition of a "wrong". Personally I dont think humanely killing a multiple child rapist and murderer is a "wrong".

Having said that, I agree with someone above who said until Japanese convictions are not based on 21 days incarceration without a lawyer, secret interrogations and "confessions" the death penalty needs to be applied very carefully.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I can't believe capital punishment still exist in this world. It's just stupid, cruel and very very wrong. You get the criminals to a place where they can do no harm (jail/prison), and THEN you decide to execute them, murder them, for no reason at all except economics.

Executing caught and thereby harmless people, murderers or not, to save money is disgusting.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Salute to the criminal justice system in Japan, justice and due process carried out for the benefit of everyone.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The death penalty is not about two wrongs make a right or about collective revenge. It is a rational solution to get rid of people who hinder society. You see It in the animal kingdom all the time. Stop thinking humans are high and mighty !

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Of course we are high and mighty. Saying we are only animals and can't be expected to act any smarter than the average lion or goldfish is wierd considering all the other demands we have on ourselves and others.

I can't see how it's rational at all. You catch a criminal, get him into a position where he is unable to do any harm to society. At that moment, what is your reason to kill him? Revenge? Justice? Eye for an eye? All of those are redundant and highly illogical. I just can't see the purpose of killing someone who poses no threat at all at the current time. I can understand a police shooting a criminal to death if he is currently armed and able to kill or severely harm others around him. However, everyone on death-row is already caught, and although many of them don't regret their crimes, no one has any reason to kill them.

If there was a way to exchange the criminal's life for it's victims' then I would be OK with that process because that would actually change something for the better. Killing yet another person leads nowhere. This is the kind of justice that belongs in a James Bond-movie. Not in real life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Less unruly people to deal with.. BANZAI!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

nikku if you just want to kill people who hinder society, why stop at criminals? Clearly it's revenge and revenge only. Erik said it best. It is also economically not feasible to use the death penalty, it's so expensive.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I read somewhere some dude is supposed to have said something like: Father forgive them they know not what they do. I've always thought that was one hell of an insight, but, unfortunately, this deep understanding of the human condition is far too profound for the moronic majority of humankind to get their heads around. Thus one often hears, even today, outdated and discredited middle eastern theories of "an eye for an eye" etc. Many folks mutter rabid musings about the prophylactic properties of capital punishment as a "proven" "deterrent" despite evidence to the contrary. Where a deterrent effect might operate, although rarely applied, would be capital punishment for warmongers who, according to the judgment at Nuremberg, have committed the "supreme crime" of conspiring for and waging wars of aggression, or perhaps for banksters, fraudsters , robbers and thieves of the highest class, not to mention premiers, presidents and sundry heads of states whose egregious crimes have ruined the lives of untold multitudes. Is there any other way of preventing the imminent ruin of our earth? I am, however, principally opposed to the death penalty, so I would favor commutaion to life in prison without parole for the aforementioned classes of incorrigible, sociopathic reprobates. Such a modest proposal may not be feasible in humanity's present benighted condition, but at least until the dawn of some future age of enlightenment, we could strive to cast off our abject and contemptible fawning before authority: by permitting our "masters" to arrogate to themselves the power of life and death over us we exhibit a mind-set worthy slaves, but unworthy of free peoples.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm just wondering why so many people are trying to justify the removal of capital punishment to the point of making it appear that the criminals are victims. They may doubt the convicted perpetrators but one thing is sure, there's a victim. And the victim happens to be dead. If the victim is a young person and has a dream, we may never know if he'd become a president or a well known lawyer or scientist had his life not snuffed out. Giving a life penalty would drain the already draining funds. The govt go to the extent of taking the various insurances and taxes direct from pensions of some people who fail to pay on time. A part of it perhaps is used to feed those inmates esp those condemned killers. And some people are using the word humanize. Absurd!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The death penalty is not about an eye for an eye revenge thing. It's really just a simple solution. you can go ahead and call people who support the death penalty barbaric . But humans are the most violent Barbaric animals on the planet. It doesn't hurt getting rid of some of the worst of em.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

nikku you clearly didn't read what i said. It's not a "simple solution" when it costs more to kill them financially than it does to keep them alive. Also who has the right to subjectively determine who "the worst of them" are? Like I said, why just stop at killing criminals if all you just want society to be improved?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@jump, not really sure but I'm wondering about your statement that it costs more to kill them than keeping them alive. Alive and keeping on appealing the death sentence uses public funds, once sick even mere tooth extraction of inmates uses public funds, their everyday commiserate uses public funds, if they are given mail courses uses public funds, and if the number of death penalty inmates increases, providing additional facilities and manpower uses public funds and you keep all of them alive drains everything and I might say expensive on the long run. Most criminals are incorrigible since if they're let out, whoever happens to live with them would bear the brunt of being humane to animals.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@trinklets Yes, but you misunderstood your own point- If there were no death sentence then they wouldn't have to "keep appealing the death sentence" at a premium like you say- because yes you're right, the legal representation for death row inmates always cost incomparably higher than any other.

Studies showed that in California alone, switching death penalty costs to permanent imprisonment would save California more than 1 BILLION dollars over 5 years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Forget the morality of it all- Is revenge worth paying 1 billion dollars of tax payer money every 5 years for?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The American legal system is so screwed up its easy to understand that it costs a lot to condemn people to death . Japan is way different. It's too bad america doesn't fix it's system. At least China knows how to get things done.

You asked who has the right to condemn people? The japanese government and the japanese people do. they passed the laws. It's not up to foreigners to decide japanese laws.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The japanese people dont have a say in ANYTHING their government does- You do realize that theyre all against restarting nuclear reactors, have protested in the 100s of thousands and the government doesnt give a rats ass? Clearly though im talking to someone who also doesnt give a crap about the basic rights of human beings if you're sympathizing with freaking CHINA. And you also continue to ignore everything im saying.. Ill leave you to your little extremist dream world, i wont miss you.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sorry buddy, considering japanese population 100s of thousands doesn't make the cut.

But this is about the death penalty . Most Japanese people are not opposed to it.

I give a big crap about human rights. But people who rape and murder don't count .

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

So, does this mean the Republic of Korea and Singapore are not "Industrialized Democracies"?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All this talk of "revenge" this and "revenge" that is coming from people who clearly don't know the difference between revenge and justice.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

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