Death penalty still lives. Why?

Tokyo

It seems that the minister of justice can order executions as he likes, and he will say that this is the will of the people. Yet, 18 other ministers of justice never ordered a single execution. Why?

A judge always gives reasons for handing down the death sentence, but the minister of justice does not need to give any reason for who are to be killed and who are not to be killed. This is kept secret from the people of Japan. Why?

Those ministers of justice who repeat the line that most Japanese want the death penalty never mention that most countries have already abolished this old and inhuman practice. Why?

Newspapers will sometimes run a photo of the nice room for executions, but the thing that actually kills a human being is not shown — the rope attached to the ceiling. The rope has been removed when the photo is taken. Why?

The Japanese Constitution clearly forbids all forms of cruel punishment. But early on, in 1948, Japan’s Supreme Court decided that the death penalty is not cruel and so this practice was not abolished. Still, nobody can see a photo of the person being killed in this way, which is not supposed to be cruel. Why?

A minister of justice sets up an internal study group to consider problems with the death penalty in Japan. Then a new minister decides to scrap the study group. Why?

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

jose llompart