Monday, December 25, 2006

Black Day for Japan and for the World

On Christmas Day 2006 Japan hanged four men. While Christmas Day is considered world wide as a day of peace,Japan wished to show its people and the world that the death penalty remains in force in Japan. The last previous execution took place a few days before the appointment as Justice Minister of Seikei Sugiura in 2005 who, following his Buddhist beliefs, refused to sign death warrants for executions (see posting below). As a result Japan has not had an execution for a period of fifteen months.

When the term of prime minister Junichiro Koizumi ended, Seikei Sugiura also stood down to be replaced by a Minister in favour of the death penalty. Japan is the only major industrialised country besides the United States maintaining Capital Punishment. Executions are carried out without the knowledge of relatives of the condemned, and in unknown locations. The condemned prisoners themselves are informed at the last moment. These practices are against United Nations declared norms for the humane treatment of persons condemned to death.

The Christmas Day executions are particularly noxious as two of those executed are aged 77 and 75 years old. The other two are 64 and 44 years old.

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