Two prisoners sentenced to death were killed in Japan today following a controversial procedure in which prisoners are notified just hours before being ripped off, and relatives are not notified until the prisoners are already dead. Roji Kagayima and Fujima exports were the last prisoners to death as part of a controversial “secret execution” program condemned by human rights activists in and outside Japan.
Inmates, who spend years and even decades awaiting execution, are not notified of their execution until hours before they are sent to the gallows. Only the lawyers and their relatives are known after the execution. In a 2008 report, Amnesty International reported that prisoners in Japan are crazy and face “cruel, inhumane and degrading” punishment.
Although public opinion polls show that Japanese support for the death penalty exceeds 80 percent, the global community has called on Japan to stop the program. The secret nature of Japanese executions is of particular concern.
“In Japan, the death system is pushing prisoners deep into mental illness, but they are still being held and hanged. The mental pain of not knowing if each day will last is terrible. “But the Japanese justice system considers it appropriate to bury the death row prisoners in the most punitive system of silence, isolation and possible imagination.”Kate Allen of Amnesty International
This marks the fourth round of executions since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012, bringing the number of convicted prisoners killed in the past year to eight.
Amnesty International’s 2008 report states that “short-notice” executions amount to harsh treatment of Japanese prisoners, who spend decades in death row and never know when they might be killed, and that this could lead to mental illness. Kate Allen of Amnesty International in 2009 added, “In Japan, the death system is pushing prisoners deep into mental illness, but they are still being held and hanged. The mental pain of not knowing if each day will last is terrible. “But the Japanese justice system considers it appropriate to bury the death row prisoners in the most punitive system of silence, isolation and possible imagination.”
Kagayima was sentenced to death in 2009 and Fujishima in 1995. Each was responsible for the deaths of two people. Currently, there are 129 Japanese prisoners awaiting execution.
Some live year after year, sometimes for decades. “Allowing prisoners to live for long periods under daily threat of death is cruel, inhumane and degrading. The treatment given to convicted prisoners in Japan means that they face a high risk of developing serious mental illness during their execution.