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Human Rights Commissioner Kofler condemns latest use of death penalty in Japan

02.08.2019 - Press release

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (2 August 2019) on the latest use of the death penalty in Japan:

I was shocked to hear that the death penalty has been carried out again in Japan. Two people were executed in Japan today, bringing the number of people executed in the country since December 2012 to 38.

The German Government categorically rejects the death penalty as an inhumane and cruel punishment and campaigns with its partners in the European Union for its worldwide abolition.

Germany and Japan are close partners and work together in a spirit of trust on many issues. I therefore urge the Japanese Government to reconsider its current practice and to suspend further use of the death penalty. I very much welcome the frank debate in Japan’s civil society about the abolition of the death penalty, for it forms a crucial basis for dialogue.

Background information

Two people who had been sentenced to death were executed in Japan on 2 August 2019. One was 50 years old and the other 64 years old; both men were sentenced to death for multiple murders. Both convictions were upheld by the Supreme Court.

A total of 38 people have now been executed since Prime Minister Shinzō Abe took office in December 2012. Those sentenced to death do not know about the imminent execution until immediately beforehand and thus have no opportunity to say farewell to their families, who are only informed about the execution after the event.

The Japanese Federation of Bar Associations takes a clear position and calls on the Japanese Government to introduce life sentences and to end capital punishment by 2020. Amnesty International Japan also condemns the Japanese Government’s decisions to carry out the death Penalty.

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