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Monday, January 24, 2022

Japan hangs three prisoners after giving them hours notice

(CNN) – Japan executed three death row prisoners by hanging on Tuesday, the country’s first executions since 2019 and the first under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

Yasutaka Fujishiro

According to Japan’s Ministry of Justice, one of those killed was 65-year-old Yasutaka Fujishiro, who killed seven people, including his aunt and neighbors, in 2004.

The other two, Tomoki Takanezawa, 54, and Mitsunori Onogawa, 44, killed two employees at the Pachinko Game Parlor in 2003, the Justice Ministry confirmed.

“These are extremely brutal cases, taking precious lives for selfish reasons. I think these are terrible incidents not only for the victims but also for the bereaved families,” Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said at a news conference.

In Japan, executions are carried out, and prisoners are informed of their execution, hours before it is carried out. A practice that has long been a cry for human rights groups to pressure death row prisoners, for whom any day could be their last.

According to rights group Amnesty International, families are usually notified of executions only after it is over.

Japan’s use of the death penalty – and the manner in which it is carried out – has long led rights groups and campaigners to work to end the practice.

“The recent appointment of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was an opportunity for progress on human rights in Japan. But today’s abhorrent resumption of executions is a damaging indictment of this government’s lack of respect for the right to life,” Amnesty International said in response to Tuesday’s execution. said the death penalty adviser Chiara Sangiorgio.

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“After two years with no executions, it seems like a missed opportunity for Japan to take long-pending steps to end the brutal practice of the death penalty.”

Japan is one of a few countries that continues to use the death penalty; In industrialized democracies, only certain parts of the United States use this practice. Amnesty has repeatedly called on Japan to establish an immediate official moratorium on all executions, a first step towards total elimination.

In November, two death row inmates sued the government, demanding compensation for the practice’s change and the effects of the “inhuman” practice, according to Reuters.

Japan has resisted calls for change and there are many in the country who support the death penalty.

“The abolition of the death penalty is an important issue concerning the foundation of the Japanese criminal justice system,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara said at a news conference. “It is not easy to decide on the death penalty, but given that these crimes are still ongoing, I do not think it is appropriate to abolish the death penalty.”

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