The Social Democratic Party on Wednesday issued a statement calling on the government to halt executions of death row inmates.

The Justice Ministry is believed to be planning more executions in the near future, and the statement was released to coincide with this, said SDP Lower House member Nobuto Hosaka. Previously, a number of executions have been carried out after Golden Week and before a national election. An Upper House election is scheduled for July.

Hosaka, a member of the Lower House’s Committee of Judicial Affairs, also said a nonpartisan group of lawmakers on the committee is planning to hold intensive discussions on capital punishment, possibly next week. Hosaka said the Justice Ministry should respect the Diet’s discussions, if they go ahead, and impose a moratorium on carrying out death penalties.

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