crime

Secrecy plagues Japanese executions: Amnesty

19 Comments

Human rights group Amnesty International said Thursday that Japan's use of capital punishment was "shrouded in secrecy" and criticized its treatment of death row prisoners who are kept in solitary confinement for years.

Launching its annual review of the death penalty around the world, Amnesty said the United Nation's Committee Against Torture has signaled its concerns about the Japanese criminal justice system.

The report came as a Japanese court granted a retrial to a death-row inmate who has been confined since 1966 for a quadruple murder, decades after doubts emerged about his guilt and as the judge said key evidence may have been planted.

"The use of the death penalty in Japan continued to be shrouded in secrecy," Amnesty said in its latest report, which showed the world's third largest economy executed eight people in 2013. The tally was the ninth largest, the group said.

China topped the list, but Amnesty said it was difficult to know the full extent of the practice there. The organization said it could not confirm reliable figures for Malaysia or North Korea.

Japan and the United States are the only major industrialised democracies 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 Japanese 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.

Japan executes elderly inmates and those who are preparing to apply for retrials "in contravention of international standards on the use of the death penalty," Amnesty said.

The UN commission has pointed to the "unnecessary secrecy and uncertainty surrounding the execution of prisoners; the use of solitary confinement for prisoners sentenced to death, some exceeding 30 years," Amnesty said.

The report came as Shizuoka District Court decided to "start the retrial over the case" of Iwao Hakamada, 78, who was convicted for the grisly murder of his boss and the man's family nearly five decades ago.

© (c) 2014 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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Death penalty = barbaric

9 ( +14 / -5 )

Under Japanese law the authorities are not obliged to confirm them (executions), and a swathe of secrecy surrounds the activity. Some are halted due to the refusal of justice ministers to sign death execution warrants. Law should not be misled by feelings of revenge. I oppose the death penalty since it cannot be undone.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

I think we should be more concerned about non-taped police 'interviews', forced confessions, lack of access to an impartial lawyer, and length of detention, before we start getting our panties in a twist over the actual (rarely used) executions.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

I heard the guy who got a retrial was tortured with sleep deprivation techniques to make him sign a confession. Disgusting. He sat 48 years, innocent! I hope he gets paid bigtime and sues everyone who is guilty.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

I hope he gets paid bigtime and sues everyone who is guilty.

I guarantee you, no one who did wrong in this poor man's case will see any jail time, or indeed any punishment whatsoever. They may have to appear in front of some TV cameras, onion in hand, and shed a few tears while bowing a lot, but that is it. It's always the way.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

bilderberg_2015Mar. 28, 2014 - 08:21AM JST I think we should be more concerned about non-taped police 'interviews', forced confessions, lack of access to an impartial lawyer, and length of detention, before we start getting our panties in a twist over the actual (rarely used) executions.

I completely agree. People make a big deal about how this guy was going to be executed, but there are probably literally thousands of other guys who have been falsely imprisoned for 20+ years on the basis of:

forced confessions and torture, biased lawyers who rely on the police for referrals and are frozen out if they don't play ball, a police force that is paid bonuses on the basis of convictions, not (more logically) on how safe they keep people prosecutors who have in recent years been shown to fake evidence, and again are paid bonuses for doing this, judges who lack the spine to stand up and say, "You know what prosecutor, I'd like to see the chain of custody on that evidence", and who knowingly sentence men they know to be innocent, politicians who exert undue influence on the judiciary to maintain a conviction rate that is unrealistic

The problems with the Japanese legal system are systematic and deeply rooted. The death penalty is just the cream floating on the top of a VERY large and very corrupt system.

-7 ( +10 / -18 )

I'm for the death penalty, but rather than target the just how Japan treats it's death row inmates, Japan's judicial system needs a strong review.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

If Iwao Hakamada, 78, was wrongly convicted of these truly horrendous crimes, then a number of profoundly shocking issues present themselves. The victims surviving family members have been for five decades in the belief that justice had been done. Secondly the perpetrators at still at large.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If he's not guilty, then someone got away with murder, four of them. The death row system is a cruel and unnecessary form of punishment. Now he's been released from that hell the prosecution needs to drop their case against him without any retrial and admit to its wrong doings in this tragic case.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

bilderburg, I disagree. Off the top of my head I can remember reading about a few cases where people lost their jobs or got pay cuts, such as in the following case : http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/osaka-assistant-police-inspector-accused-of-falsifying-evidence This is a much bigger case, so I think those responsible will receive ample punishment.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

ah ye barbaric death penalties- as if the killer will ever be truly reformed. as if you want to attempt to believe the person is reformed - especially if he moves in next door to your family.

might be ok somewhere else- but when the person moves into the neighborhood- then all of a sudden it is an issue.

Amnesty issue is that they cannot organize protests if they do not know when the execution occurs. - they do not care if the person is guilty or not. they do not care if the person is reformed or not, all they want is for executions to stop and life imprisonments to end because these are "inhumane"

but acts of murder are not i guess- well as long as it is not next door

-7 ( +1 / -7 )

the United Nation’s Committee Against Torture has signaled its concerns about the Japanese criminal justice system.

And with good cause. In many respects the words Japanese and justice system are an oxymoron.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

That Japanese police release figures on the number of (your favourite demographic here) arrested on mere suspicion of committing crimes speaks volumes.

getting our panties in a twist over the actual (rarely used) executions

Japan killed eight prisoners last year. Does that qualify as rarely used?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

International advocacy groups say the Japanese 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.

The law says death penalty must be executed within 6 months of the day the convicted person exaughsted ordinary means of appeal. Is Amnesty happy if Justice Ministry follow this law by the letter, so that the death row inmates will only detained for 6 months and they know by when the excecution will be carried out?

Japan executes elderly inmates and those who are preparing to apply for retrials "in contravention of international standards on the use of the death penalty," Amnesty said.

"Preparing to apply for retrials" means application for retrial is not turned in.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

praackMAR. 28, 2014 - 10:59AM JST ah ye barbaric death penalties- as if the killer will ever be truly reformed. as if you want to attempt to believe the person is reformed - especially if he moves in next door to your family.

might be ok somewhere else- but when the person moves into the neighborhood- then all of a sudden it is an issue.

Amnesty issue is that they cannot organize protests if they do not know when the execution occurs. - they do not care if the person is guilty or not. they do not care if the person is reformed or not, all they want is for executions to stop and life imprisonments to end because these are "inhumane"

but acts of murder are not i guess- well as long as it is not next door

ever heard of life imprisonment where justified?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Death penalty be damned, if he is proven to be innocent (which it really looks that way), he was held unjustly for 48 years! The mind boggles at such corruption!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People that work at amnesty have never been victims of criminals. They sure live in a perfect world where all criminals are good people. But life's not like that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think we should be more concerned about non-taped police 'interviews', forced confessions, lack of access to an impartial lawyer, and length of detention, before we start getting our panties in a twist over the actual (rarely used) executions.

Good point. Less dubious investigative techniques means less wrongful convictions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

People that work at amnesty have never been victims of criminals.

Seán MacBride, a founding member of AI, was a victim of the criminal organization known as the British government and had to serve in a war to get free of them. His father was executed, nay murdered by a British by firing squad for daring to fight for the freedom of Ireland in the Easter Uprising of 1916. Also, Seán was also once arrested and charged with murder although innocent.

He also founded a non-military organization called "Free Ireland" that branded illegal by the criminals of the British government.

And I am sure Irene Khan witnessed plenty of victimization as a teenager in Bangladesh during the Liberation War to understand something about being a victim.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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