National

Cinema to hold 'death penalty week'

Kyodo

A Tokyo movie theater will kick off “Death Penalty Movie Week” on Feb. 15, showing eight consecutive films on the issue from Japan and abroad.

The movies to be shown at Eurospace in Shibuya include “Yakusoku” (“Promise”), a 2013 Japanese film depicting a death row inmate who is seeking a retrial over a 1961 mass poisoning known as the Nabari Case.

Overseas works include the 2010 U.S. film “The Conspirator,” which focuses on the first American female death row inmate, who was convicted of conspiring to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln.

The screenings will also include movies from Italy and South Korea, accompanied by talk sessions with a lawyer, movie director and other guest speakers.

It is the third time the event has been held. The organizer, Forum 90, started it in 2012 to “provide people with information on capital punishment through movies at a time when many of them support the death penalty without knowing its true nature,” according to Masakuni Ota, a member of the group.

The secrecy surrounding Japan’s executions has been criticized at home and abroad, with neither death row inmates nor their lawyers and families given advance notice of the hangings. It also remains unclear what criteria authorities use in deciding when the inmates are to be executed and who they will be.

While around two-thirds of the world’s countries have abolished the death penalty by law or in practice, eight inmates have been hanged since the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s second administration took office in December 2012. His current justice minister is veteran House of Representatives lawmaker Sadakazu Tanigaki.

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