20 former lay judges filed a petition to stop capital punishment in Japan and called for a greater transparency on how it is done. The group, citizens who have been involved in criminal trials as lay judges, submitted the petition to the justice minister.
Only two countries from the Group of Eight industrialized nations hand out capital punishment, Japan and the United States. In Japan however, inmates up for execution are not informed of when they will die. The lack of transparency in how the inmates are scheduled to be executed is what many human rights groups have been condemning. Due to the furtive ways the hangings are carried out, some members of the group of petitioners are anguished at the thought of their implicit hand in the matter of the inmates’ execution. Former lay judge Masayoshi Taguchi said that some members, who were instrumental in handing out a guilty verdict and helped condemn the inmates to the gallows, now feel “guilty that they will sooner or later become ‘indirect murderers’ of (fellow) human beings.”
He also noted that, “There are so many things about the practice that remain unknown to the public. If the government is asking its citizens to participate in the trials and pass judgment, then it should play fairer and do its utmost to disclose more details.” Taguchi added that the execution lacks so much accountability, the public does not even know how the inmates will die, for example if by electrocution or something else. The petition filed by the group is meant not to request for the abolition of capital punishment, but a strong urging to be more transparent on how its done and for the public to be informed. “I hope the petition will make people realize that it’s their basic responsibility, as citizens living in a democracy, to supervise what authorities are doing,” said Taguchi.
[via Japan Times]
Comments Off on JDP Startup Corner: Pros & Cons of Working with a Partner in Japan