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Japan Capital Punishment News
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Thread: Japan Capital Punishment News

  1. #1
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    Japan Capital Punishment News

    Japanese jurors hand down first death sentence to minor

    TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese jurors Thursday sentenced a teenager to hang for a double murder, the first death penalty given to a minor under the nation's newly-introduced jury system, court officials said.

    The 19-year-old defendant, whose name was withheld, was convicted of stabbing his girlfriend and her sister to death at their house in Miyagi, northern Japan, in February this year.
    Under Japanese law, people under 20-years-old are tried as minors.

    The teenager, who committed the murders after his girlfriend tried to end their relationship, also seriously injured another man in the attack.

    “We cannot say he is fully aware of the graveness of the case,” presiding judge Nobuyuki Suzuki told the Sendai District Court in Miyagi, according to Jiji Press.

    “The possibility of his rehabilitation is extremely low,” the judge said, adding that age was not a “decisive” factor on death penalties. The defendant was 18 years and seven months old when he killed the victims.

    The sentence -- decided by six members of the jury and three professional judges -- was the first time the death penalty was handed down to a minor since Japan introduced the so-called lay-judge system in May last year.

    Last week, jurors at the Yokohama District Court sentenced a 32-year-old man to death for a double murder.

    Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialised democracy to carry out capital punishment, a practice that has earned Tokyo repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/world-news...tence-to-minor

  2. #2
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    Condemned youth earned no leniency

    The Sendai District Court ruling that on Thursday sentenced a minor to death for killing two people and seriously injuring another in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, said the fact that he was 18 years old at the time had no bearing on the decision to hand down capital punishment.

    The case, which was tried under the lay judge system, attracted widespread attention because of the atrocious nature of the crime committed by the youth, now 19.

    The ruling, which some believe will pave the way for severe punishments for minors in future criminal trials, emphasized the vicious nature of the defendant's actions and their grave consequences.

    The ruling said: "The way the crime was committed was extremely ruthless and the degree of brutality was remarkable. Though the defendant has reflected on his deeds to a certain extent, his words were superficial. It can't be said that he recognizes how serious his crime was."

    About the probability of the defendant being rehabilitated--often seen as a reason to avoid sentencing minors to death--the ruling said it was "extremely low."

    The trial was the third concluded under the lay judge system in which prosecutors have demanded capital punishment, and the second in which the death penalty was handed down.

    At the Yokohama District Court on Nov. 16, a panel of judges and lay judges sentenced to death a man who had killed one of his two victims by decapitation.

    At the Tokyo District Court on Nov. 1, a panel of judges and lay judges declined to hand down a death sentence to a man who killed two people, deciding it was inappropriate for what the panel judged to be a crime of passion.

    In both those cases, the presiding judges said the decisions were not very different from what a panel comprising only professional judges would have arrived at.

    Before Thursday's ruling was announced, legal experts had said a death sentence was unlikely, because the Juvenile Law prohibits giving the death penalty to people aged under 18. The defendant was 18 years and seven months old at the time of the crime.

    However, Thursday's ruling said the defendant's age "cannot be seen as a decisive reason for avoiding punishment by death, and should be regarded as just one factor to consider in judging the overall situation."

    In this nation, people become legal adults at 20 years of age.

    In a 2006 survey report compiled by the Supreme Court's Legal Training and Research Institute, about 90 percent of professional judges said the defendant being a minor might lead them to show leniency in sentencing.

    In the same survey, 50 percent of ordinary citizens said they would not consider the age of the defendant when deciding a sentence, while 25 percent said they would hand down a tougher punishment for a minor.

    A professional judge with a long career in criminal trials said, "Professional judges share the view that minors can often be rehabilitated, but lay judges don't necessarily share that view."

    Since around 1980, death sentences have been given to minors only for extremely violent crimes with multiple victims, based on the principle of the Juvenile Law that sentencing for minors should consider the probability of their being rehabilitated.

    In 1990, the Supreme Court turned down an appeal against the death sentence given to Norio Nagayama, a serial killer who shot four people dead in 1968 when he was 19.

    Since then, only one death sentence on a minor has been finalized, on a man who killed four members of a family in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, in 1992. He was 19 years old at the time.

    But the trend was shaken in June 2006, when the Supreme Court delivered its ruling on a case involving a minor who killed a 23-year-old woman and her 11-month-old daughter in Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in April 1999.

    The top court nullified two lower court rulings that had sentenced the underage killer to life in prison, saying the rulings were improper. The top court sent the case back to the Hiroshima High Court, which subsequently sentenced the defendant to death in April 2008. His appeal against that ruling is now under way in the Supreme Court.

    Kazuhiro Watanabe, an associate professor of criminal law at the University of Toyama, said: "The case involves a minor who has been sentenced to death for murder, and there are two victims. It will have a strong affect on future decisions about the punishments given to minors.

    "For defense lawyers, I can say the challenge of showing minor criminals can be rehabilitated has become tougher," Watanabe said.

    http://news.asiaone.com/News/Latest%...28-249633.html

  3. #3
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    Youth appeals first death sentence handed down to minor in lay-judge trial

    A 19-year-old male who has been sentenced to death for killing two people and seriously injuring another earlier this year has appealed against the nation's first death penalty handed down to a minor in a lay-judge trial.

    The man's defense team filed the appeal against the lower court's ruling with the Sendai High Court on Dec. 6 after obtaining the defendant's agreement earlier that day.

    "It seems the defendant is feeling that accepting capital punishment is not the only way of making up for his crime and that continuing to live with his feelings of remorse can also be another option," his lawyers commented in a statement.

    During the first trial at the Sendai District Court, the man, accused of murdering two women and seriously wounding a man in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, in February, mostly admitted to the charges, becoming the nation's first defendant to face the death penalty in a lay judge trial for a crime he committed as a minor.

    The defense counsel asked the court for leniency and requested that the defendant be sent to a juvenile reformatory taking into consideration the fact that he was 18 years old at the time of the crime.

    However, the court rejected the defense's claim, saying, "His age cannot be the decisive factor to avoid capital punishment. The defendant shows no sign of deep remorse and it is most unlikely that he will reform."

    The team of lay judges and professional judges concluded on Nov. 25 that the death penalty is the only option based on the cruelty and the gravity of his crime.

    Immediately after the ruling, the defendant reportedly told his lawyers that he wanted to accept the sentence. On Dec. 2, he expressed his reluctance to appeal, saying, "The two (female) victims would not allow me to appeal the ruling," according to the defense counsel.

    The youth's lawyers had been trying to convince the defendant to appeal the death penalty.

    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/...na005000c.html

  4. #4
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    Japan man gets death sentence for killing family

    Japanese jurors Tuesday sentenced a 22-year-old man to death for murdering his wife, baby and mother-in-law, court officials said.

    Former air force serviceman Akihiro Okumoto was convicted of strangling his five-month-old son Yuto and killing his wife Kumiko, 24, and 50-year-old mother-in-law, Takako Ikegami with a hammer in March.

    Judge Masayoshi Takahara told the Miyazaki District Court Okumoto should be sentenced to death because he murdered the three out of "a selfish desire" to live alone, according to Jiji Press.

    "He wanted to become free from everything to do with the family," he said.

    Prosecutors had severely criticised Okumoto for his cruelty and stressed that he murdered all of his resident family members in a matter of 15 minutes.

    But the defendant, who has pleaded guilty, contended that he had been mentally affected by persistent verbal abuse from his mother-in-law.

    The sentence -- decided by six members of the jury and three professional judges -- marks the third time the death penalty has been handed down since Japan introduced the so-called lay-judge system in May last year.

    Last month, jurors at the Yokohama District Court sentenced a 32-year-old man to death for a double murder. Jurors at the Sendai District Court ruled that a man aged 19 should hang for another double murder.

    The Sendai case was the first death sentence given to a minor under the system.

    Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialised democracy to carry out capital punishment, a practice that has earned Tokyo repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups.

    http://tacoma.planetdiscover.com/sp?...&submit=Search

  5. #5
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    14 sentenced to death in Japan this year

    The number of people sentenced to death by Japanese courts in 2010 came to 14, down 20 from last year, reflecting a decrease in heinous crimes such as murder and a more cautious stance by the courts on handing down the death sentence, a Kyodo News survey showed Thursday.

    Of the 14, three, including a minor convicted of killing two women in Miyagi Prefecture, were sentenced to death by the newly introduced lay judge system.

    The number of death sentences given by district and high courts as well as the Supreme Court had followed a rising path since 2000 to reach 46 in 2007. The latest figure fell below 20 for the first time since 1999, when 16 people were given the death sentence.

    According to the National Police Agency, the number of atrocious crimes such as murder, robbery and rape has been decreasing since hitting 11,360 in 2005, totaling 6,989 as of the end of November this year.

    The Kyodo survey also found courts gave life imprisonment to eight defendants for whom prosecutors had sought the death penalty.

    While two death row inmates were hanged this year at the instruction of former Justice Minister Keiko Chiba, the number of convicts whose death penalty has been finalized has reached 111, the largest since 1949, staying above 100 for the fourth straight year, according to the Justice Ministry.

    Of the 111, 65 have been seeking retrials, while 15 have applied for amnesty. Meanwhile, two death row inmates died in prison this year.

    In an extremely rare move, Chiba, a former member of the Japan Parliamentary League against the Death Penalty, attended the executions and decided to partially disclose the execution chambers to the media in order to stir public debate over capital punishment.

    According to Amnesty International, 139 countries, more than two-thirds of nations worldwide, have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice as of the end of last year. In 2009, only 18 countries, including Japan, carried out executions.

    http://www.japantoday.com/category/c...apan-this-year

  6. #6
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    Japan appoints anti-capital punishment justice minister

    Japan has appointed a new justice minister who's a vocal opponent of the death penalty, raising hopes among activists that he'll push for the scrapping of capital punishment.

    Japan is the only major industrialised country other than the United States which executes criminals and usually only sends people to the gallows for multiple murder.

    The country has 111 convicts on death row, but since the election of the centre-left government in 2009 the number of executions has dropped sharply.

    The government even opened the execution chamber to the media in a bid to encourage public debate.

    Now activists are hoping the appointment of Satsuki Eda will lead to the abolition of capital punishment altogether.

    The new minister is a vocal opponent of the death penalty, once warning that a state should not commit murder.

    http://australianetworknews.com/stor...49.htm?desktop

  7. #7
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    Justice minister to study pros and cons of death penalty

    Justice Minister Satsuki Eda said Friday it is time to study whether to heed international calls and abolish the death penalty.

    "I think now is the time, from a global point of view, to look into whether it is good or not to maintain capital punishment," Eda said at a news conference following a Cabinet meeting.

    But he did not elaborate on if he will suspend executions while the study is under way, only saying, "I will consider it fully."

    He also called capital punishment "an irreparable penalty."

    Eda, a judge-turned-politician who also served as president of the House of Councilors, joined the Cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a reshuffle last week, replacing Yoshito Sengoku as justice minister. On Jan.14, Eda told reporters after assuming the portfolio, "Capital punishment is a defective penalty."

    According to London-based Amnesty International, 139 countries and territories more than two-thirds of nations around the globe have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, while 58 have retained it.

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0110122a8.html

  8. #8
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    Death sentence finalized for 1996 subway sarin attack

    A death sentence has been finalized for Masami Tsuchiya, previously a senior member of the AUM Shinrikyo cult, who was convicted over a series of crimes perpetrated by the group, including the Tokyo subway system sarin attack in 1995.

    Tsuchiya was convicted of being involved in six cases related to AUM, including 2 deadly sarin gas attacks in Japan, Breitbart.com reports. One attack was in the residential Matsumoto area in the Nagano Prefecture in June 1994 and the other was in the Tokyo subway system in 1995.

    The death sentence had already been finalized for the founder of AUM, Shoko Asahara, also known as Chizuo Matsumoto. Tsuchiya is the 11th member of AUM to be given the death penalty, Breitbart.com reports.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sarin is a man-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent. This colorless, clear, tasteless liquid was used during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s and can lead to symptoms within a few seconds of exposure to the vapor form.

    Sarin symptoms include watery eyes, blurred vision, drooling and excessive sweating, diarrhea, confusion and nausea in smaller does. In larger doses, it can lead to a loss of consciousness, paralysis, convulsions and respiratory failure leading to death. Sarin breaks down slowly in the human body, which may mean that people repeatedly exposed can suffer more harmful health effects.

    (Source: bioprepwatch.com)

  9. #9
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    Japan justice minister says no executions

    Japan's justice minister says he does not intend to approve any executions as the number of prisoners on death row has reached a record 120.

    The Yomiuri Shimbun reports the last execution in Japan came in July last year and Justice Minister Satsuki Eda has made clear he doesn't plan to authorize more executions anytime soon.

    In a July 26 interview with the newspaper, Eda expressed concerns false charges could lead to executions.

    "False charges can be revoked in retrials, but this is impossible after a person has been executed," he said.

    The statement, published Thursday, drew numerous protests from citizens.

    In early July, Katsuyuki Nishikawa, chief of the Justice Ministry's Criminal Affairs Bureau, and others showed Eda documents pointing to parts of the Criminal Procedure Code saying those on death row should be executed within six months of finalization of a death sentence.

    The Yomiuri Shimbun said some have questioned whether executions should be halted mainly because of personal beliefs of the justice minister.

    "The Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that executions should be performed within six months of the sentence being finalized," said Osamu Watanabe, a Konan Law School professor and expert on criminal procedure.

    "I think the justice minister should act in line with the system and review the possibility of false conviction within the set time limit."

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-Ne...#ixzz1Ty2ZRblP

  10. #10
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    Questioning the death penalty in Japan

    There are 120 people currently on death row in Japan, with polls showing capital punishment is supported by more than 80 per cent of the population.

    However, some in the country have reservations and object to the practice on moral grounds.

    Japan has recently begun a debate on whether to abolish the law, with a small group of politicians planning to raise the issue in parliament.

    But with the wide majority of views still in favour of the death penalty, many doubt that the law will be changed.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/video/a...401691162.html

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