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The gallows, like much of the rest of Japan’s prison system, are shrouded in thick veils of government secrecy.

Executions are timed to coincide with Diet [parliamentary] recesses to avoid protests from opposition lawmakers; prison guards are forbidden from discussing their work; and few ordinary civilians have ever set foot inside an execution chamber. The Justice Ministry never releases the names of those they kill, only how many on a certain day, with the media relying on tips and contacts with families to name those executed.

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