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New Justice Minister Keiko Chiba said Thursday she will deal carefully with death penalty cases and called for a wide-ranging debate on whether capital punishment should be abolished.

“The death penalty involves a person’s life, so I will cautiously handle (the cases) based on the duties of the justice minister,” Chiba, a former lawyer, said at a news conference following the first meeting of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s new Cabinet.

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