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Following the approval of the execution of three condemned convicts in December, Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama announced that he authorized the three executions that took place Feb. 1. Many of those who agree with those hangings cite their sympathy with the feelings of the families of crime victims who demand “eye for an eye” retribution.

But if the state takes those feelings into consideration, it justifies the use of revenge in society and shows that it does not take the value of life seriously. You cannot teach respect for life by taking lives as a punishment for crimes.

For more than 340 years during the Heian Period, Japan did not apply the death penalty due to the influence of Buddhism. By renouncing the taking of human life as a punishment, the state can teach once again the absolute value of human life.

henri huysegoms