Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas from Justice Minister Nagase

Japan is not a Christian country but occasionally the government gets into the spirit of things. On Christmas Day, Justice Minister Jinen Nagase had four people---aged 77, 74, 65 and 44--- hung by the neck until they were dead.

Some lawmakers were Scrooges though, and did not approve:

"I am very disappointed that executions took place," Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima told a Tokyo news conference, adding she had just met with Nagase on Dec. 19 and had urged him not to approve any executions.

"The death sentences were carried out in a rush and no prior announcements were made," she said, criticizing the usual procedure.

Nobuto Hosaka of the SDP denounced the hangings, claiming Fujinami and Akiyama were in the process of appealing for a retrial.

"It's Christmas, a special day even for those who are not Christians. I can't understand why they chose to carry out the executions," he said.

What has he in store for New Years Day?

From The Japan Times HERE

A related story is HERE. Everyone knows that people on death row in Japan are not informed of their execution date until the morning that they are to be killed.

The reason death row inmates are not given advance warning that their time to hang is approaching is to prevent them from suffering a psychological impact, the criminal department official said.

"If they know, they will think things like 'it's my turn next' and suffer, and so will their families," he said.

(Well, America has the death penalty too, so it's ok. Just had to give a standard "rebuttal" that one would hear in Japan.)

27 December update: It was revealed that the hangings took place on Monday because they did not want to hang them on the emperor's birthday which was Saturday. Naturally, Japan is not Christian so it wouldn't worship Christ. Many worship the emperor though so that explains in part, the choice of days.

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