Japan executions show ‘chilling’ escalation in death penalty

Hands Of The Prisoneroriginally by: Amnesty International
published: 26 April 2013

The execution of two death row inmates in Japan shows that a “chilling” escalation of death penalty use under the new Liberal Democratic government is intensifying, Amnesty International said. Yoshihide Miyagi, 56, and Katsuji Hamasaki, 64, were hanged in Tokyo today.

The two men were convicted of murder after shooting dead rival gang members in a restaurant in Ichihara City in 2005.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has now executed five people since taking office in December 2012. The other three executions took place in February.

“This chilling news appears to reinforce our fears that the new government is increasing the pace of executions at an alarming rate,” said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific Director.

“With five executions already this year, it seems clear the government has no intention of heeding international calls to start a genuine and open public debate on the death penalty, including its abolition.”

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