Stop executions in Japan
Thank you to all those who have taken our action to stop executions in Japan. We've now paused this action.
About death penalty in Japan
Japanese prisoners Masahiro Kanagawa, Kaoru Kobayashi and Keiki Kano were told on the morning of 21 February 2013 that Japan's Justice Minister had consented to their execution. Hours later, the three men would be dead.
Executed despite pleas for retrial
Kaoru Kobayashi and Keiki Kano were both preparing to apply for retrials. Despite this, 44 year-old Kobayashi was hanged in Osaka, while 62 year-old Kano was hanged in Nagoya. The same morning, Masahiro Kanagawa, 29, was hanged in Tokyo.
The start of a new wave of killings?The three hangings are the first executions under the Liberal Democratic government, which assumed power in December 2012, under the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. This is not the first time Shinzo Abe has been Prime Minister – he held the role from September 2006 for nearly a year. During that time, he oversaw ten executions – the highest number under any Liberal Democratic Party rule. Meanwhile,
Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki has publically stated that he's in favour of using the death penalty.
134 prisoners remain on death row. We're extremely worried for their safety.
The death penalty in Japan
Japan is one of a small number of countries that continues to use the death penalty – the ultimate cruel, inhumane and irreversible punishment.
Prisoners are notified of their execution usually just hours before it is carried out. Sometimes they have no warning at all. Until then, they are usually kept in solitary cells, not knowing from one day to the next whether it is their last. Prisoners' families are typically told of the execution only once their relative has been hanged. Such practices have contributed to mental health problems among Japan’s death row population. More information about the death penalty in Japan