(In a recent interview, Justice Minister Hatoyama strongly iterated reasons for continued executions. Is this a political flip-flop designed to parry criticisms?)
Hangings not humane way: Hatoyama
The Japan Times: Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007

Kyodo News
Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said Wednesday he is aware how death row inmates are executed in Japan and wondered if there were more "peaceful" ways of killing them other than hanging.

"I am fully aware that 'death by hanging' is written in the Criminal Code," he told the Lower House Judicial Affairs Committee.

Hatoyama, who viewed the Tokyo Detention House gallows after taking office in August, said inmates "fall from a square place with a thump."

"I feel (it would be good) if there were more peaceful ways" to carry out executions, he said.

He also seemed to support having people from outside the Justice Ministry participate in his intraministry study group on the death penalty. "I'd like to have an opportunity to hear the voices of those who are against the death penalty," said Hatoyama, who in September sparked controversy by saying executions should be done systematically without written orders from the justice minister.
The Japan Times: Thursday, Oct. 25, 2007
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