THE DEATH PENALTY IN JAPAN: Denial of the Right to Life and other human rights violations

10/10/2014
Press release

Since 26 December 2012, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki has ordered the executions of eight inmates, and more executions are expected to take place in the near future, a clear violation of the basic human right to life, and a disturbing trend that runs counter to the global movement towards the abolition of the death penalty. Equally concerning is that many death sentences in Japan are implemented with disregard to international law, including denying the right of prisoners to seek appeal in death penalty cases. Death sentences are often imposed by lay judges, a system which violates international standards for a fair trial.
Japan has also failed to prevent the execution of persons with mental illness or disability. Such executions are in clear violation of the UN safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. Inmates on death row are very often subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment also prohibited under international law, including prolonged solitary confinement.
On the occasion of 10 October 2014, World Day Against the Death Penalty, we publish this excerpt of a report submitted for the July 2014 session of the UN Human Rights Committee by FIDH, The Center for Prisoners’ Rights, The Advocates for Human Rights, and The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

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