MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - Amnesty International said Thursday Japan’s decision to continue its secret executions policy despite growing concern about the country's use of the death penalty is a scar on the justice system.
Masanori Kawasaki, 68, convicted in 2008 of the murder of three relatives, was hanged early on Thursday morning at Osaka detention center. The execution, the first this year, is the ninth since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government took office in December 2012.
“It is deplorable that not long after fundamental flaws in Japan’s criminal justice system were so blatantly exposed, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki has chosen to sign another death warrant,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia research director at Amnesty International.
“Instead of sending more people to the gallows there needs to be urgent reform of a justice system that at present is not worthy of the name,” Rife said, also calling for a full public debate on the use of the death penalty in the country.
Executions are shrouded in secrecy in Japan and usually come only with a few hours’ notice, while some prisoners are not informed at all, and their families learn about the execution only after it has taken place.
Japan and the US are the only countries in the G8 that still use capital punishment. Last year, only 22 countries or one in 10 countries worldwide carried out executions.
Amnesty International condemns the death penalty in all cases, without exception, saying it violates the right to life and “is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”