Tokyo theater to screen films for ‘Death Penalty Week’



Nine films from Japan and abroad that explore the theme of capital punishment will be screened consecutively at a theater in Tokyo’s Shibuya district over a one-week period starting Saturday, accompanied by a series of talks.

The movies to be shown at Eurospace for “Death Penalty Movie Week” include a screening of “Serial Killer,” a 1969 documentary on Norio Nagayama, who was hanged in 1997 for fatally shooting four people when he was a teenager, and the 1958 French movie “Elevator to the Gallows.” Movies from Bolivia, China and South Korea will also be shown.

The screenings, at a pace of three to four movies a day, will be accompanied by talk sessions with guest speakers, including Yoshihiro Yasuda, a Tokyo-based lawyer leading the campaign against the death penalty in Japan, and Shoji Sakurai, who was falsely accused in a high-profile 1967 murder case and acquitted more than 40 years later.

The event is organized by Forum 90, which has campaigned for terminating capital punishment since 1990, under the main title of “Crime, Punishment and Forgiveness.”

“Most people in Japan support the death penalty without knowing its realities, as information about capital punishment has not been fully disclosed in this country,” said Masakuni Ota, a member of Forum 90. “We expect this film festival to provide an opportunity to understand parts of the secret system.”

The secrecy surrounding executions in Japan has come under strong scrutiny at home and abroad because inmates aren’t told when they will be hanged until the actual day, and their family members and lawyers are only informed of their deaths afterward. The criteria used to organize the executions also remain unclear.

The U.N. adopted a resolution in December calling on countries that conduct executions to impose a moratorium on the death penalty and disclose information about the practice.

See the Eurospace homepage for screening details (Japanese).

  • Edohiguma

    I wonder what the enemies of death penalty would say if one of their family would suffer what the monsters waiting in Japan for the gallows have brought upon their victims.

    It’s always easy to pretend to be on the moral high ground when you have no skin in the game and there are crimes so vicious that the only punishment can be death. Asahara, for example, the former leader of Aum and mastermind of the sarin gas attack, deserves the rope. Miyazaki Tsutomu, the so called “otaku killer”, who brutally butchered four little girls, also deserved the rope. And there are many other cases where the death penalty was just fitting.

    In Germany today, for example, a life sentence is 25 years. An RAF terrorist (the RAF was an infamous German left wing terror organization), who had murdered nine people, was set free after 27 years. He was in jail three years per murder. How is that justice?

    But for people on the high horse of “morality” justice doesn’t matter, it’s only about being morally superior, crime victims be damned. In fact Europe is showing the way of how the justice system has been completely eroded by left wing elites in favor of the criminal rather than the victim. The criminal is catered to, the victim gets shafted. In some countries you can even get leave from prison if you’re a child rapist and manage to fool the psychologists and therapists into believing you’re “healed”.

    I’m glad Japan still has actual punishments instead of the cuddling in Europe. The death penalty has its place and just wait, it will return eventually in Europe too, once the people are sick and tired of how the political left leaning wannabe elite caters to criminals instead of protecting the citizens and helping the victims.