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While the execution of Aum Shinrikyo cult founder Shoko Asahara and the group’s former senior members may offer a degree of closure on a string of crimes that shocked the nation, it also creates an opportunity for further debate in Japanese society about the death penalty.

At a time when the global trend is toward abolishing capital punishment,the country’s death penalty system has sparked international criticism — especially over the secrecy surrounding its executions — and has prompted critics to push for its abolition.

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