JAPAN. JUSTICE MINISTER CONSIDERS 'TRANQUIL' EXECUTIONS
October 24, 2007: Japanese Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said he wanted to consider more 'tranquil' methods of execution.
Japan generally executes several convicts a year, always by hanging. 'I am fully aware that 'death by hanging' is written in the criminal code,' Hatoyama said after a parliamentary committee meeting, Kyodo news agency said.
'A square part of the floor opens up and they fall with a thud,' he said. 'I honestly wonder if there isn't a more tranquil way of doing this.' It was not clear what other methods he was considering.
Hatoyama came under fire in September for suggesting those sentenced to death should be executed automatically, without having the penalty approved by the justice minister as is current practice. He said on Wednesday he would like to hear the opinions of those opposed to the death penalty. Opinion polls show most Japanese back capital punishment. (Sources: Reuters, 24/10/2007)