Former Justice Minister Hideo Hiraoka said it is regrettable that Japan resumed executing death-row inmates in March without holding sufficient debate following a 20-month hiatus.

“I regret that executions took place last month without being examined or discussed . . . regarding the way in which the death penalty is enforced and death-row inmates are treated in Japan,” said Hiraoka, who was justice minister for four months until January, told a symposium last week hosted by the Delegation of the European Union to Japan and the EU Institute in Japan at Waseda University in Tokyo.

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