Death Penalty in Japan

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Death Penalty in Japan






Death Penalty in Japan

Pro Argument

Death penalty is the passing of a death sentence on a person as punishment for committing a crime. Among the countries, which practice this law is Japan. In July 2010, it was suspended until recently, where, after eighteen months; three men were hanged following the sentence (Reuters, 2012). There has been debate on the issue of capital punishment. There are both cons and pros on both sides. Death penalty should be allowed as per the phrase, an eye for an eye. Criminals, who commit extremely violent crimes such as deliberate murder, should be sentenced to death. Among the three men hanged in Japan this year, one killed five people in a train station. There are more than a hundred inmates in Japan, who have been sentenced to death. Thirteen of them belong to the doomsday cult responsible for gas attacks in 1995, at a Tokyo subway.

If a person has killed another person then the best way to punish him or her is by executing the death sentence on the person. A poll carried out in 2009 showed that eighty six percent of the Japan population supports the death penalty. This shows that people believe that justice on murderers is through capital punishment. A woman recently acquired more than 300,000 people support for a death sentence to be issued on the man who had murdered her son, among several other people. Passing the penalty also serves as a deterrent example for others. Because of the rates at which crimes are increasing, including murder, the issuing of this penalty shall significantly reduce this vice (Hirano, 2011). In this way, the government shows that it does not tolerate crimes and hence discourages the rise in crimes.



Argument Against

On the other hand, when a death penalty is passed there is a risk in executing the innocent. There have been several cases where an innocent person has been sentenced to death. In other cases, the crime committed, does not deserve the death penalty. Because of this reason, death penalty should not be legal as it could mean murdering an innocent person, an irony to the reason that the penalty has been issued; for justice. One of the reasons why the penalty was suspended for a period in Japan was because four men had been accorded the penalty unjustly. The human rights activists filed an appeal following the death sentence that had been passed on the four men (Mikio, 2012). In other cases, some of the inmates who are on a death row in Japan are suffering from mental illnesses. This would mean that some of them were not mentally capacitated when committing the crimes.

It would therefore not be just to pass such a sentence on a mentally ill person. Japan’s system follows the use of lay judges, known as the jury, who are members of the public chosen to pass sentence alongside professional judges in criminal cases. The use of civilians who have not gone through the necessary education that would ensure they are well skilled in passing sentences, could lead to innocent people being sentenced to death. Another reason is that everyone should be entitled to rehabilitate and get a second chance. When the inmates are put on death row in Japan, some of them suffer mental illnesses because of the torture of awaiting death. This shows that they have a conscience. One of the lay judges who passed a death sentence on a murderer expressed that the person did not appear as one who had committed such a crime. He also said that, under different circumstances, he could be friends with him. In this case, some of the criminals who show response should be given another chance to correct their ways and live moral lives.


When passing the death sentence, enough evidence should be given, concerning the nature of the crime and the people involved. The criminals should also be tested to determine whether they are in the right mental state, when committing the crime. Professional judges who have acquired the right skills should be used in passing such sentences, so that they are not overruled or biased. In this way, justice would be well accorded. The other arguments are less persuasive because they do not have well supported evidence and they are based more on personal reasons, for example, on the issue that it is immoral and not man’s responsibility. The more persuasive arguments were selected following issues that have already happened or occurring in the present, for example, the debate about the death penalty in Japan.














Hirano, K. (2011, Oct. 13). Lawyer federation urges debate to end death penalty. The Japan Times. Retrieved from

Mikio, K. (2012). The death penalty in Japan-How genuine is public support? Retrieved from

Reuters. (2012). Japan hangs 3 murderers in first executions since 2010. Retrieved from




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