Monday, January 14, 2008

Courts sentenced 46 to death in 2007

Japanese courts handed down death sentences to a total of 46 defendants in 2007, the highest number since 1980, the earliest year for which comparable data are available. At least 106 people — the highest number since 1980 — were on death row after final rulings as of the end of 2007, the year in which nine people were hanged, also the largest number.
District, high and Supreme courts in Japan issued a record number of death sentences in 2007 for the second year in a row. The annual data — based on the government's annual statistics report on judicial affairs — underscore the trend toward harsher punishment in Japan.
When the U.N. moratorium resolution was adopted, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said, "Whether the death sentence should be maintained or abolished should be decided independently by each country by taking into account the sentiments of its people and its crime situation."
"In our country, a majority of the public thinks that death sentences are inevitable for people who commit heinous crimes," said the minister. In Japan, an execution by hanging must be authorized by the justice minister.