Newly appointed Justice Minister Mitsuhide Iwaki on Wednesday supported the need for capital punishment but added that execution orders should be decided carefully.

"Since a majority of the public says capital punishment is unavoidable, it is not appropriate to abandon the system," Iwaki said in his first news conference in the role.

"We should deal (with capital punishment) carefully and strictly by respecting (the) courts' judgment," said Iwaki, a former mayor of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

The House of Councilors member was elevated to his first ministerial post in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday.