Many death row inmates want advance notice of execution

December 29, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- A large number of Japan's death row inmates said that they want to be notified of their execution date in advance in place of the current practice of being told on the day's morning, a survey conducted by a lawmaker against the death penalty showed Friday.

The research showed 51 of the 78 inmates who replied in the survey favored an advance notice. A majority of the respondents also called for a review of the execution method, with many preferring lethal injection to the only current option -- hanging.

The survey was conducted by Mizuho Fukushima, deputy chairwoman of the nonpartisan Parliamentary League for the Abolition of the Death Penalty from September to November, covering the 133 inmates in the country. Two of them were executed Sept. 27, raising the number of people executed this year to seven.

It offers a rare insight into death row inmates' thoughts on the system in the country that has been known to severely limit information about its death penalty system.

The United Nations adopted a resolution Dec. 20 calling on countries, such as Japan, that conduct executions to impose a moratorium on the death penalty and disclose information about the practice. Enjoying 80 percent of its people expressing support for the capital punishment in opinion polls, Japan voted against it.

The survey by Fukushima found 24 said they want to be notified of the date of their execution one to seven days ahead, while nine said a month ahead. Multiple respondents said they wanted to have the opportunity to bid farewell to their relatives and friends.

Four said advance notification was not necessary and one cited the possibility of considering a suicide after getting such a notice, according to the survey.

On the execution method, 44 out of 78 said they want the state to review hanging, and the largest segment of respondents or 25 said they want to die through lethal injection, according to the survey.

Fukushima is a veteran House of Councillors member who leads the Social Democratic Party, a minor opposition party.

December 29, 2012(Mainichi Japan)