Japan Federation of Bar Associations opposes introduction of life terms without parole

20th November 2008

TOKYO

The Japan Federation of Bar Associations expressed its opposition to the introduction of life imprisonment without parole in a statement issued Wednesday. A group of bipartisan lawmakers has argued for the introduction of life terms without parole as those sentenced to life imprisonment could be released on parole after serving 10 years, but the JFBA said that as of 2007 inmates serving life sentences remained in prison for more than 31 years on average before parole.

According to the statement, 87 prisoners are believed to have served more than 30 years, of whom five have remained in prison for between 50 and 54 years while another has served more than 55 years. Citing data that 79 prisoners sentenced to life terms have been released on parole during the last 10 years while 120 others serving life sentences had died in prison, the JFBA said the data indicate ‘‘life terms’’ in effect constitute imprisonment for life.