Multimedia content

Does the Death Penalty Deter Homicide in Japan?

By David T. Johnson / Asian Law Centre, on 1 January 2017

Unlike the United States, where death penalty and deterrence studies are legion, there has been little research about the death penalty and deterrence in Japan, though the paucity of studies has not discouraged citizens and officials from making confident claims about this issue. Indeed, deterrence has been called “the core of argumentation for and against” the death penalty in Japan. Serious research on this subject has beenall but impossible because of difficulties obtaining decent crime data from the Japanese government. This paper uses monthly homicide and robbery-homicide statistics thatwere previously unavailable to examine whether death sentences and executions in Japan deterred these crimes from 1990 to 2010. The main finding is that the death penalty did not deter homicide or robbery-homicide during this period. More research is needed on this subject, but at present the Japanese government has no sound basis for continuing to claim that the country needs to retain the death penalty because it detersheinous crime.

  • Document type Multimedia content
  • Countries list Japan
  • Themes list Deterrence , Death Penalty,