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With the inauguration of the new government led by the Democratic Party of Japan, there could be a lull in executions of death-row inmates, at least for the time being. Recent years have seen accelerated hangings under Liberal Democratic Party-led governments.

Political commentators have taken particular notice of the appointment of Upper House member Keiko Chiba as justice minister. She opposes capital punishment and belongs to the nonpartisan Parliamentary League for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. The justice minister has the final say in authorizing executions.

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