Japan Slammed Over 'Secret Executions'
2 executed in secret hangings, common in country in support of capital punishment
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 12, 2013 8:24 AM CST
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe speaks during a press conference in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Japan secretly executed two men today, in the fourth round of such executions since Shinzo Abe took power last December. Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki signed off on the secret orders for Mitsuo Fujishima and Ryoji Kagayama, both convicted murderers, who likely would have been told of their fates only hours before the executions were carried out; families and lawyers are kept in the dark until later. The government's actions suggest a plan to hold secret executions every few months, despite outcry from the international community, the Guardian reports.

"The executions were carried out after careful consideration of their cases," Tanigaki said, adding there's no need to review capital punishment in the country where 80% support it. "The fast pace at which the Abe administration is conducting executions goes directly against the international community's repeated calls to abolish capital punishment," Amnesty International Japan said. Seven inmates were executed in 2012, Al Jazeera reports, while a 2008 Amnesty report noted that the system drives inmates insane due to "cruel, inhuman, and degrading" punishment. (Click to see which US state seems pretty eager to kick start its own executions.)