NGO report

The Death Penalty in Japan: A Practice Unworthy of a Democracy

By International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) / Sharon Hom / Etienne Jaudel / Richard Wild, on 1 January 2003

Despite the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations’ efforts towards improving the defence system, Japanese prisoners – especially those sentenced to death – do not receive a fair trial.The Daiyo Kangoku practice is one amongst several practices which allows suspects to be detained in police stations for 23 days, contravening the rules of a fair trial. Confessions, which can be obtained through strong pressure, give police the basis for accusation. Furthermore, the conditions on death row themselves amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatments: Once the death sentence has been delivered, the prisoner is held in solitary confinement. Detainees have extremely limited contact with families and lawyers and meetings are closely monitored. Above all, prisoners live with the constant fear of never knowing if today will be their last day. The prisoner is informed that the execution will take place on the very same day, and family members are notified the following day.