'Inhuman' Hatoyama snubs Kamei
The Japan Times: Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007

Kyodo News

Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said Friday he would not meet with lawmaker Shizuka Kamei, an opponent of the death penalty who described the minister this week as not being human.

On Wednesday, Kamei, the acting leader of the People's New Party, said Hatoyama "lacks the credentials as justice minister and as a human being."

Kamei was responding to Hatoyama's proposal the previous day to release justice ministers from having to sign all execution orders carried out for death-row inmates.

"Would it be right to treat human life to be killed one after another by just pressing a button?" said Kamei.

In response, Hatoyama said Friday that he would refuse to meet with Kamei because "My character was attacked 100 percent."

"I don't agree with abolishing the death penalty that would allow a person to live no matter how many people he or she kills," Hatoyama said. "My standpoint is to eliminate heinous crimes that claim lives. The criticism is irrelevant."

The justice ministry will set up a study group soon to discuss the matter with the heads of the criminal affairs, correction and rehabilitation bureaus, Hatoyama said.

The Japan Times: Saturday, Sept. 29, 2007
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