On a more serious note, two who were previously sentenced to death by courts in Japan were hanged last week. The executions spurred serious animosity by citizens rights groups including Amnesty International. Here I go again: Was it the death or the method of death that spurred the debate?
One man was convicted of setting fire to a jewelry store which ended up killing six people. The other fellow strangle a woman and stabbed a man to death to end up on death row.
Japan is one of the few remaining industrialized countries which still employs the death penalty. I must say that the idea of hanging does tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I am sure not as bad as the taste it left in the mouth of Kazuo Shinozawa and Hidenori Ogata as the nooses tightened around their necks.
Apparently the executions in Japan are quite secretive. Convicts are often left on death row for years as they are here in California. The executions, or hangings are carried out in secret. Even the inmates, their lawyers and families do not know when they are going to be killed. Well, I suppose the inmates know as the rope is tightening around their necks. But, I guess the Japanese government saves on telephone calls and last meals and the like by implementing this secretive process.
Authorities in Japan have requested new studies and debate on the punishment. Japanese Justice Minister Keiko Chiba, who used to work for an organization which opposed the death penalty. This seems like quite a change in job description. Chiba is said to have taken the position after the Democratic Party in Japan came into power. I guess things used to be worse?
Amnesty International condemned the executions. Japan has another 107 inmates still on death row. To put that into perspective, that is fewer than we have here in California alone.
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