• Kyodo

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The Japan Federation of Bar Associations said Friday it will step up consultations with the European Union on abolishing capital punishment and will work to encourage public debate.

The Japanese criminal justice system came under negative global scrutiny this year when a death-row inmate was freed after 48 years in prison. In March, a court freed Iwao Hakamada, 78, pending a re-examination of a 1966 murder case in which investigators allegedly faked evidence.

The federation will set up a panel of lawyers with experience of foreign criminal justice systems and will consult foreign embassies in Japan.

“We want to create opportunities to think about capital punishment, by deepening cooperation with the European Union . . . and by disseminating information,” said Yuji Ogawara, a lawyer at the federation.

The EU is strongly against capital punishment.