Japan opened up the secretive world of its capital punishment system to the public Friday, offering journalists a rare tour of Tokyo’s main gallows in an effort to stoke debate about a practice widely supported here.
All executions in Japan are carried out by hanging, and no media coverage of executions is permitted. Inmates on death row do not know when they will be executed until the last minute, while family members and lawyers are only told afterward. Along with the United States, Japan is one of the few industrialized countries that maintains capital punishment.
Despite persistent criticism by rights groups such as Amnesty International and the main Japanese bar association, there is little public outcry against capital punishment in Japan, where recent government surveys showed more than 80 percent support ratings.
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