Justice Minister Keiko Chiba said Monday in a meeting with opponents of the death penalty she is “apprised at all times of information about individual death-row inmates and keeps it in mind.”
Chiba was responding to a demand filed by the activists that executions, particularly of inmates who are mentally impaired, elderly or seeking retrial, should be suspended.
She said she expects debate on the death penalty and information disclosure on the practice to be promoted even if she leaves her post, according to the activists, including Amnesty International Japan.
Chiba is expected to be replaced after the Democratic Party of Japan’s Sept. 14 leadership election because she lost her Diet seat in July.
In a joint statement submitted to Chiba, the activists called for an immediate halt to executions, further information disclosure on treatment of death-row inmates and processes of executions, and the start of public debate on capital punishment involving lawyers, nongovernmental organizations and former death-row inmates who were acquitted in retrials.
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