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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 August 28 - September 3  > Civil group for a death penalty-free Japan inaugurated
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2019 August 28 - September 3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Civil group for a death penalty-free Japan inaugurated

September 1, 2019

A rally that will formally establish a citizens' committee aiming to realize a death penalty-free democratic society took place on August 31 in Tokyo with about 300 journalists, lawyers, religious figures, and families of traffic accident victims along with people from all walks of life participating.

The leaders of the Citizens' Committee to Abolish Capital Punishment include Zukeran Atsushi, vice head of the Japan Association for Social Justice and Human Rights (Kokumin Kyuenkai), Hiraoka Hideo, lawyer and former Justice Minister, and Murai Tosikuni, former chief of the Criminal Law Society of Japan. A wide range of people such as former members of the Lower House Futami Nobuaki and Fuwa Tetsuzo, former Prime Minister Murayama Tomiichi, and film director Yamada Yoji are on the roster of the Committee's initiators.

Looking back on his experience as a justice minister ordering executions, Hiraoka said, "Like other countries, Japan should also abolish the death penalty."

Nakamura Kazuhiro, former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, pointed out that execution by hanging, which Japan adopts as its official execution method, is a cruel procedure involving significant time before death associated with severe pain. He also pointed out that people later found to have been innocent have been hanged. Asserting his opposition to capital punishment, he said that the death penalty deprives offenders of their potential for rehabilitation and denies the possibility of social rehabilitation. He added, "The abolition of capital punishment will be possible by informing the general public of the inhumane nature of hanging people until they are dead and of the world trend to abolish the death penalty."
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