Human Rights Commissioner condemns use of death penalty in Japan

12.09.2013 - Press release

Federal Government Human Rights Commissioner Markus Löning issued the following statement today (12 September):

I was dismayed to learn that Japan has executed yet another person today. It is particularly shocking that the Japanese Government still adheres to its practice of giving the condemned prisoner and his family no advance warning of the execution. This makes it impossible for them to say goodbye in person.

The death penalty is an inhumane and cruel punishment. The German Government is against capital punishment under any circumstances and is campaigning for its universal abolition. So far, more than two thirds of all countries around the world have abolished the death penalty or are observing a moratorium.

I call yet again on the Japanese Government to refrain from carrying out further death sentences and to conduct an open debate in society about the death penalty – a punishment that has no place in the 21st century.


73-year-old Tokuhisa Kumagai was sentenced to death in 2004 for robbery and murder. He was hanged this morning in Kosuge prison in Tokyo. This is the sixth execution in Japan this year. As usual in Japan, the execution was carried out without the prisoner, his family or the public being informed in advance.

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