news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | September 27, 2014 | 01:38 pm IST

Tokyo: The Japanese government does not believe that the death penalty is in need of any immediate reform, the country's new Justice Minister Midori Matsushima said.

Matsushima, who took up the portfolio in early September, reaffirmed her stance on capital punishment in Japan, one of 22 countries in the world that still mandate capital punishment for certain crimes.

"I believe that the death penalty is necessary to punish certain very serious crimes. We have to take into account the emotional reaction of the families as well as the general public," Matsushima said at a press conference on Friday.

At least 5.6 percent of Japanese citizens said the death penalty was "unavoidable if the circumstances demand it", while 5.7 percent "totally oppose it", according to the most recent poll conducted on the topic, which the minister cited.

The latest two executions in the country took place Aug 29, bringing the total number of state-mandated deaths to 11 since the Liberal Democratic Party regained control of the government in 2012.

The execution by hanging of the two prisoners took place five days before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a reshuffle of his cabinet, which saw Matsushima replacing Sadakazu Tanigaki in the justice ministry.

Amnesty International has repeatedly criticised Japan's implementation of the death sentence "without legal guarantees", referring to cases such as the execution of prisoners suffering from mental illnesses.


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