Japan is a country where executions are performed in strict secrecy. Prisoners are not told their fate until they are hanged. Although Japan began disclosing names and details about the crimes of executioners in 2007, information is still very limited.

Justice Minister Yoshihisa Fuukawa stated at a news conference, that the trio had committed “extremely horrendous” crimes and that they deserved to be punished accordingly.

Japan Politics

Yoshihisa Furukawa is the newly appointed minister for Justice. He arrives at Tokyo’s prime minister’s residence on Monday, October 4, 2021. Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Furukawa declined comment to discuss the timing of executions. These executions are often performed during the year-end holiday period when parliament is in recess. Opponents say this is an attempt to lower criticism. Japan’s parliament met for its last session on Tuesday.

Furukawa stated, “As justice minister I authorized their executions following extremely careful considerations repeatedly and again.”

Japan now has 107 death row inmates at detention centers instead of regular prisons.

Despite growing international criticism, it has kept the death penalty. It said that the punishment was necessary to consider the feelings of the victims and deter others from committing heinous crimes.

Only Japan and the United States are among the Group of Seven industrialized countries that have capital punishment. Furukawa stated that a survey conducted by the Japanese government revealed that the overwhelming majority of people support executions.

He supported the brief notice to prisoners about to be executed and cited a “serious psychological impact” on them if they knew their fate in advance.

Two death row inmates filed a lawsuit against government, claiming that the system causes mental distress. They are seeking compensation for their mental suffering as a result of living in uncertainty up to the end of their lives.

Many executions are also performed long after sentencing.

These executions were the first since December 26, 2019, when a Chinese national was convicted of the 2003 murder of a Fukuoka family of 4. He was executed. He was among three people who were hanged in that year. Japan executed 15 Aum Shinrikyo members who were convicted of a 1995 nerve gas attack that killed 13 subway workers in Tokyo.