A Japanese woman on death row for drug trafficking in Malaysia will appeal for a lesser punishment, her lawyer has said, through a recently enacted law allowing such prisoners to petition the country's highest court for sentence reduction.

Mariko Takeuchi, 49, lost her appeal at the Federal Court in 2015, which upheld lower court rulings in which the former nurse was sentenced to hang for trafficking 3.5 kilograms of methamphetamine into Malaysia in 2009.

The new law allowing prisoners sentenced to death or life imprisonment to seek reduced sentences came into force Tuesday as part of a judicial reform that eliminated mandatory death sentencing for 11 serious offenses, including drug trafficking, murder and terrorism.