crime

Murakumi says he can't publicly oppose death penalty for sarin gas attackers

28 Comments
By John MacDougall

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"I cannot publicly state, as far as this case is concerned, 'I am opposed to death penalty'," he wrote.

So, you are not against the death penalty in certain cases. Personally speaking, I agree, I typically am against the death penalty myself as well, however there are cases when it certainly seems appropriate considering the crime committed.

In the AUM cases, I agree with the death penalty and it being carried out, however the timing did seem fast, in comparison to other cases here, and that also makes me want to ask, why did the government order these executions when there were still many unanswered questions?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

If you believe something, stick to it. How many innocent people have been put to death by the state in the history of capital punishment? Those who support the death penalty should be willing to be that mistake. We know there are mistakes, so you can't argue it's unjust if you were the one falsely sentenced. Sure, the AUM case is any easy one. Shall we ignore the hard ones? What about the loved one's of those killed by the government by mistake?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

You're either for or against the death penalty.

Even if you say "Only under certain circumstances," or "For this case. . ." that means you are for it.

There's no in-between.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Why SHOULD he ?

They murdered a dozen people (actually I don't REMEMBER how many).

LIVE by the sword, DIE by the sword.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

I have no moral objection to the death penalty - I don’t see anything wrong with the idea. That said, the problem with the death penalty is that it depends upon humans to decide it, and humans are fallable, as are justice systems. As such we cannot trust that verdicts are always correct, and due to the death penalty being absolutely final, I can’t support the death penalty.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Why SHOULD he ?

Because he can't eat his cake and have it. He can just shut it up. If he chooses to discuss in public, he is either opposed or in favor of death penalty. Well I'm not surprised. I have thought for long that he was writing and talking without sincerity, he says what his PR team suggests in order to maximize sales of his books. He could do politics.

Sure, the AUM case is any easy one. 

On the contrary, we can fear the reaction of the cultists that are continuing.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Murakumi is not a victim of the crime. This reclusive Japanese writer was not going about his business on the subway that morning.

Therefore it is easy for him to take the moral highground.

The Justice Minister considered the victims while making her very difficult decision. That, to me, is good law.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Strangerland:

Thanks, you've summed up it neatly for me. It's impossible to sympathise with Aum or any other vicious murderers whose guilt is beyond doubt. They're a waste of space. But it's those 50-50 cases where the wrong person is sent to their death, or where there's been a police frame-up or a careless investigation, or just simply a mistake - check out the case of Derek Bentley, last man hanged in the UK. That's why (despite the occasional angry/emotional outburst) I'm against the death penalty as part of a justice system. Life in prison, make it tough, throw away the key.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Underground is a good book and I recommend reading it to get a real "human" side to the attacks. Hearing about how thousands were injured in the papers seems like it could have been worse, but in the book you'll hear stories of the injured victims and how some of them can barely function in society anymore, not to say about how sad the stories are of family members who did lose their loved ones on that day.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Should really enhance in Nobel resume.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Madden:

I agree with you about Underground. It's a great book and if you've read it it's impossible to agree with another poster's opinion about Murakami "writing and talking without sincerity" or only doing "what his PR team suggests".

Murakami spent a long time interviewing those who suffered directly from the attacks, or who lost loved ones as a result of them. Interestingly, some of the people he interviewed didn't want the death penalty for the Aum criminals either.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Not sure why the criticism of Murakami here. He's surely far from the only person who is opposed to the death penalty in principl, but who finds himself conflicted when faced with some crimes. You can count me in that camp too.

Also worth noting that, as @Madden and @Bigyen have pointed out, his comment is not without context. His book on the subject is probably the best known, and is composed almost entirely of the voices of people involved/affected.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

You're either for or against the death penalty.

Speed, I agree. There was a case in Britain recently in which the parents of a murdered daughter (unsuccessfully) urged capital punishment not be used. I understand the immediate visceral satisfaction of revenge, yet I feel the cool understanding derived from a slow demise behind bars (think Charles Manson) is ultimately healthier for all involved.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Laguna - are you sure it was Britain? No death penalty there.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

 How many innocent people have been put to death by the state in the history of capital punishment? Those who support the death penalty should be willing to be that mistake.

but at the same time, how many guilty animals, who have committed atrocious and heinous crimes against children and women, been put out of their misery? i'll live with one mistake if it means putting to death hundreds of other animals that deserve it.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

but at the same time, how many guilty animals, who have committed atrocious and heinous crimes against children and women, been put out of their misery? i'll live with one mistake if it means putting to death hundreds of other animals that deserve it.

i wonder if you'll say the same thing if they mistakenly put you on death row.

actually how can you even say that!! the end doesn't justify the mean.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Many cannot see the whole picture. Lose very few innocent persons to save hundreds indeed.

No way justice make so many mistakes as to put the weight of more innocent people put to death penalty than people saved from additional crimes by all criminals found without any possible doubt guilty.

And that is outside the financial cost to society ! By millions of dollars that can be used to detect criminals beforehand and compensate victims for instance.

I want fair overview of pros and cons to judge but it seems to me that the system is more balanced with death penalty on.

I am all for an objective assessment and would be pleased if proven wrong.

Murakami's voice is not worth more than mine in a democracy. Moreover, a peace noble price winner cannot support obvously the death penalty, even more if he is Japanese and so conflicted.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Murakami should just tell it like it is. The crime was barbaric and the sentence was barbaric.

It's that simple. Death cultists aren't just the ones who were executed.

What would have happened to the Birmingham 6 or Guilford 4 had there been a death penalty to placate the anti-Irish sentiment in Britain at the time?

Because it wasn't justice the barbarians were seeking then, it was blood.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

i'll live with one mistake if it means putting to death hundreds of other animals that deserve it.

You'll live with it, but the innocent person who was executed won't.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Why would anyone oppose the death penalty? These animals deserved it, in fact, it was better than they deserved. The world is a better place without them in it. I, for one, am thrilled they were executed

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Bestselling author Haruki Murakami says he cannot publicly oppose the hanging of the sarin gas attackers despite his objections to the death penalty, but Japan should not use the case as a pretext for sticking to the capital punishment.

It would seem that Murakami has just made is views public.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Because it wasn't justice the barbarians were seeking then, it was blood.

Toasted, I'm not sure "barbarians" is the correct word. Many fairly normal people were probably seeking blood too because of the nature of the crimes. And that is a very good reason not to have the death penalty. We sometimes hear the question from death penalty supporters, "How would you feel if it was your son or daughter that was killed?" I think the proper answer is that we know exactly how we'd feel, and that is one reason not to have a death penalty.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

i'll live with one mistake if it means putting to death hundreds of other animals that deserve it.

I'll live with a thousand inmates in jail for life, if it means preventing one person from being wrongly executed. The egregious act of executing an innocent is one that can never be allowed to stand, and can never be thought of as acceptable. It is never acceptable, under any circumstances, for any reason. When we shift to that line of thinking, we have lost hope as humanity, and are purely looking at the world from a cynical point of view. That is more damaging to humanity than not executing the worst parts of society.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Why would anyone oppose the death penalty?

That question has been answered multiple times by multiple posters above.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What is he on about? Sitting on the fence. Talk straight for once!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Its a wonder he didnt say, "it is regrettable...". Or maybe he did.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I see a future in politics for him. LDP would be a perfect fit.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If Murakami has any principles he can, and should, speak out against the death penalty. I'm sure those Aum members who were executed deserved life in prison, but I don't want the likes of crooked Abe and his LDP mates deciding who lives and who dies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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