Please view the main text area of the page by skipping the main menu.

'Execution by hanging violates int'l law': 3 death row inmates sue Japanese gov't

The plaintiffs' attorney and others are seen during a press conference in Osaka on Nov. 29, 2022, after filing a suit demanding a halt to executions by hanging. (Mainichi/Kumiko Yasumoto)

OSAKA -- Three inmates on death row filed a lawsuit with the Osaka District Court against the Japanese government on Nov. 29, seeking a halt to executions and a total of 33 million yen (about $240,000) in damages on the grounds that death by hanging violates both international law and Japan's Constitution.

    Kyoji Mizutani, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs imprisoned at the Osaka detention center, commented, "We question the capital punishment system in Japan once more."

    Death sentences for the all three plaintiffs were finalized at least 10 years ago, and two of them are seeking retrials. Their attorney has not revealed their names.

    Their complaint points out that the International Covenants on Human Rights, which Japan has ratified, prohibit inhumane punishments and the arbitrary deprivation of life. It asserts that execution also violates Article 36 of the Japanese Constitution, which forbids torture and cruel punishments.

    During a past criminal trial, a forensic physician submitted a written opinion stating that "hanging does not inflict suffering on death row inmates as they instantly lose consciousness." The plaintiffs are claiming that the opinion was "medically wrong," citing a different view by a forensic medicine specialist in Australia.

    Japan's Supreme Court ruled in 1948 that execution by hanging was constitutional.

    Mizutani told a press conference in Osaka, "It's very unreasonable to question the continuation or abolition of the death penalty while information about executions has not been disclosed. The national government should reveal the true picture of executions."

    (Japanese original by Kumiko Yasumoto, Osaka City News Department)

    Also in The Mainichi

    The Mainichi on social media