[JURIST] Japan carried out its thirteenth execution since Japanese Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama [official profile] assumed office last August with the hanging of three condemned inmates Tuesday. Tuesday's executions are the latest in an increasing number of executions in the country. In recent years, Japan has experienced a sharp upswing in both violent crime [BBC report; MOJ backgrounder] and the perceived risk of violent crime [Japan Focus study], factors used as justification for expanding the use of capital punishment. AFP has more. The New York Times has additional coverage.
One of the last developed nations to still use the death penalty, Japan has endured international criticism for the practice since it ended an unofficial moratorium [JURIST reports] on capital punishment in 1993. Amnesty International issued a release urging Japan to stop executions [text] after the hanging of four men in April. In February, a group of parliamentarians proposed a four-year moratorium on the practice [JURIST report] . In August 2007, Japan's national bar association called for a moratorium on the death penalty [press release, in Japanese; JURIST report] until new safeguards are enacted to prevent wrongful executions.