JAPAN. NUMBER OF DEATH ROW INMATES HITS 100
February 20, 2007: the number of inmates slated for execution in Japan hit 100, with a fifth of the sentences coming in the last year alone, as Japanese courts take a tougher stance on violent crime.
In the landmark sentence the country's Supreme Court upheld capital punishment for Kazuo Shinozawa, 55, who was convicted of killing six people in 2000 after robbing a jewelry store and setting the shop on fire.
The decision makes Shinozawa the 100th death row inmate, pending finalization in coming weeks, and it is part of a surge of death sentences fueled by tougher sentences and faster court proceedings.
Courts sentenced 21 people to the gallows â hanging is the typical method of execution in Japan â last year alone.
"The number of death row inmates has surged over the last two to three years," Justice Minister Jinen Nagase told reporters in a regular briefing. Nagase said the trend should not be cause for alarm because the judgments were made carefully in accordance with law. (Sources: Ap, 20/02/2007)