• Kyodo News

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Justice Minister Satsuki Eda said Friday it is time to study whether to heed international calls and abolish the death penalty.

“I think now is the time, from a global point of view, to look into whether it is good or not to maintain capital punishment,” Eda said at a news conference following a Cabinet meeting.

But he did not elaborate on if he will suspend executions while the study is under way, only saying, “I will consider it fully.”

He also called capital punishment “an irreparable penalty.”

Eda, a judge-turned-politician who also served as president of the House of Councilors, joined the Cabinet of Prime Minister Naoto Kan in a reshuffle last week, replacing Yoshito Sengoku as justice minister. On Jan.14, Eda told reporters after assuming the portfolio, “Capital punishment is a defective penalty.”

According to London-based Amnesty International, 139 countries and territories — more than two-thirds of nations around the globe — have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice, while 58 have retained it.

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