Japan Hangs 3 Inmates For ‘Extremely Ghastly Crimes’ Amid Outcry From Human Rights Groups

Human rights groups are growing increasingly concerned after Japan hanged three inmates for “ghastly crimes” in the country’s first executions since 2019. Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa defended the punishment at a news conference, insisting that the three criminals had committed offenses that warranted death, CBS News reports.

  1. The three men killed a total of nine people. The first man Yasutaka Fujishiro, had been convicted of setting fire to a house in 2004 and killing seven people inside. The other two men, Tomoaki Takanezawa and Mitsunori and Onogawa, were found guilty of the 2003 killings of two pinball parlor employees.
  2. Japan is very secretive about its executions. Most are carried out in extreme secrecy and even the inmates themselves aren’t told that they will die until the morning of the execution. All of the executions are carried out by hanging and information about each of the convict’s crimes is limited.
  3. The executions tend to be carried out at the end of the year. Many critics of Japan’s policies claim that this is done purposely as parliament is in recess and therefore the government is less likely to face backlash from fellow politicians. However, Furukawa stands behind the methods, saying, “As justice minister, I authorized their executions after giving extremely careful considerations again and again.”
  4. There are 107 people currently on death row in Japan. They’re being held in detention centers in the country rather than regular prisons. Japan insists that the death penalty is necessary as it serves as a deterrent to committing serious crimes and serves as retribution for a victim’s family. A survey by the government also shows that an overwhelming majority of Japan’s population supports the death penalty.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill