Justice minister’s colleagues also sign off on executions: documents

JIJI

The decision-making process for carrying out executions involves up to 13 senior Justice Ministry officials, including the minister himself, documents have revealed.

Executions take place within two to four days after the ministry issues the execution orders, the documents said.

In response to a request by Jiji Press, the ministry disclosed 941 documents, including written execution orders. The documents cover 30 executions between December 2007 and last March. Information related to hangings is rarely disclosed.

Among the disclosed items, documents titled “examination on capital case” are signed by the minister and senior vice minister and have the seals of another five top officials. Written proposals for executions bear the seals of the other six officials.

In most of the 30 cases, the two kinds of documents were approved by all the officials within a day and the execution orders were issued immediately. Execution orders bear the minister’s seal, not his signature.

In all the cases, prosecutors requested executions within six months after the sentences were finalized by the Supreme Court, but it took anywhere from 18 months to 14 years and 11 months afterward for the minister to issue the orders.