EU 'REGRETS' JAPAN EXECUTIONS, URGES MORATORIUM
March 29, 2012: The European Union voiced "regret" at Japan's resumption of capital punishment after a 20-month break, urging Tokyo to impose a moratorium on the death penalty, pending abolition.
"The EU deeply regrets the execution of Yasuaki Uwabe, Tomoyuki Furusawa and Yasutoshi Matsuda on 29 March 2012, and the fact that this marks the resumption of executions in Japan after twenty months during which none took place," the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.
The EU renewed its call on the Japanese authorities "for a moratorium on the application of the death penalty, pending its complete legal abolition. This would bring Japan into line with the worldwide trend away from the death penalty," she added.
Japan on 29 March resumed its use of capital punishment with the hangings of Uwabe, Furusawa and Matsuda, all convicted of multiple murders.
The convicts went to the gallows on the orders of the justice minister, who said he was acting in line with public opinion, which overwhelmingly supports the death penalty.
Meanwhile the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) strongly condemned the executions, accusing Tokyo of defying the international community.
The British EU foreign policy chief said in her statement that the European Union considers the death penalty to be "cruel and inhuman and that its abolition is essential to protect human dignity."
She stressed that Japan and the EU are "close partners on a wide range of human rights concerns around the world." (Sources: eubusiness.com, 29/03/2012)