From: Christopher M. MacNeil
Subject: USA Japan suspends death penalty, U.S. only industrialized country with capital punishment
SBS - The World News
NOVEMBER 01 2005
WORLD NEWS HOME
JAPAN SUSPENDS DEATH PENALTY
Japan's new justice minister says he will suspend the death penalty, a move that would leave the United States as the
only major industrialised country to practice capital punishment.
Justice Minister Seiken Sugiura, who was appointed Monday in a cabinet reshuffle after Prime Minister Junichiro
Koizumi's re-election, said he would not sign any execution orders because of his personal philosophy, Kyodo news
Japan has come under intense international criticism over its executions.
It gives prisoners only several hours' notice before hanging them and does not forewarn the family, as a way of
preventing last-minute appeals.
The justice minister must sign off on hangings, but the ministry by practice does not identify whom it has executed.
Japan suspended the death penalty from November 1989 to March 1993 when justice ministers opposed to the capital
punishment refused to agree to executions.
Japan has carried out only one execution in the past year, on September 16.
Japanese media reported that the man who was hanged had been convicted of killing two women in robberies.
Human rights group Amnesty International, which opposes the death penalty, accuses the Japanese government of
executing prisoners when parliament is out of session to ward off criticism.
But the death penalty remains widely supported by the Japanese public.
A government-run survey in February found more than 81 per cent of Japanese backed capital punishment.
The most prominent prisoner awaiting the death penalty is Shoko Asahara, the founder of a doomsday cult that attacked
the Tokyo subway with nerve gas in 1995, killing 12 people and injuring thousands more.
To the people of The United States of America.
Literacy, Education, and Rehabilitation
Help us all help ourselves help the inmates recieve education.
Federal Prison Policy Project
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