Japanese Moratorium on the Death Penalty by Mika Obara-Minnitt

By Mika Obara-Minnitt

Offering a well timed reanalysis of the problem of Japan’s capital punishment coverage, this leading edge quantity considers the de facto moratorium sessions in Japan’s loss of life penalty method and proposes an alternate analytical framework to envision the coverage. Addressing how the Ministry of Justice in Japan justified capital punishment coverage through the de facto moratorium sessions from 1989 to 1993, from 2009 to 2010 and from 2010 to 2012, the writer debates the misconceptions surrounding the importance of those moratoriums.

The publication evidences the method, cause and evolution of Japan’s Ministry of Justice in continuously justifying capital punishment coverage throughout the diversified execution-free sessions and offers a greater knowing of the robust unelected elite who really force the capital punishment approach in Japan. in accordance with parliamentary lawsuits, public opinion surveys and periodical experiences by way of either overseas and family human rights NGOs in addition to interviews of presidency ministers, NGO employees, seasoned- and anti-death-penalty advocates, this article is vital examining for these attracted to Japan, its govt, felony justice procedure and regulations at the loss of life penalty and human rights.

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57 The Supreme Court, which includes former public prosecutors, appears to simply represent 22 M. OBARA-MINNITT government positions on this issue, and to proclaim the constitutionality and legality of the capital punishment system. 3 Criteria for Capital Punishment With regard to death sentences, it is also the Supreme Court that makes the final decisions based on the Penal Code. However, in reality there does not appear to exist a clear and consistently applied set of sentencing criteria that delineates the boundary between capital punishment and life imprisonment,58 and public prosecutors tend to influence the judicial decision-making.

50 This makes it easier and effective for Supreme Court judges to act on precedents (senrei shugi) or nemawashi to reach a group consensus and to overturn decisions on capital cases made in lower-level courts, leaving legal ambiguity. Keeping this bureaucratic decision-making system within the Supreme Court in mind, the next section examines the constitutionality and legality of the capital punishment system. 2 Constitutionality of the Capital Punishment System As briefly discussed in the Introduction, capital punishment was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court on 12 March 1948, and so was the THE TWO-SIDED TRIANGLE: CAPITAL PUNISHMENT POLICY...

172 Therefore, even if anti-death-penalty NGOs can ‘check’ Japan’s human rights records or function as watchdogs, they have not been allowed to contribute to efforts to ‘balance’ official policy. In order to further investigate this issue, the following part clarifies (1) why Japanese NGOs in particular fields have been working closely with the Japanese government and the business community; (2) why anti-death-penalty NGOs have not gained a higher status in Japan; and (3) the extent to which domestic and international anti-deathpenalty NGOs are aware of this closed power dynamic.

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