Execution chamber opening in Japan could be hot debate

Japanese Justice Minister Keiko Chiba’s decision to allow the media a rare look at an execution chamber this month could spark public debate in a country where a hefty majority supports retaining the death penalty.

Chiba, who used to be a member of a lawmakers’ group opposing capital punishment, had not signed off any executions since she took power last September, but suddenly did so in July. She did not give specific reasons for her move.

But she took the unusual step of attending the hangings, and then said she would open up the gallows in Tokyo to media and set up a group within the ministry to study the death penalty.

Information on the execution process is scarce in Japan, which along with the United States is one of only two Group of Eight rich countries that retain capital punishment.

Japan currently has 107 people on death row.

Read the rest of the story: Japan execution chamber opening could spark debate.

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