..."Conditions on death row are very harsh," the mother of a man facing execution at Tokyo Detention House told an international conference on capital punishment in Tokyo earlier this year.
The mother, who declined to be named, said her son's sentence was finalized by the Supreme Court last year after 10 years of trial at the district, high and top court levels.
Like other death-row inmates, her son is in solitary confinement, she said.
He was convicted of murdering a family of four during a burglary in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture, in 1992, when he was a minor.
The mother said his contact with the outside world has been more restricted since his sentence was finalized. Death-row convicts are only allowed to meet close relatives and attorneys working on an appeal -- with guards present.
Every letter written or received by convicts is screened by authorities. According to the inmate's mother, if any part of a letter written by her son is deemed inappropriate, he is forced to rewrite that portion, often to the point that the original meaning is lost. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations said such limits on communication hinder a convict's pursuit of an appeal or retrial.
And then there is the agony of not knowing when the fateful day will come.
"Every time I visit my son, I think today might be the last time I see him," the mother said, noting that neither the family, the lawyer nor the convict will be notified in advance of the execution day. "It's like the state is testing my son's patience, forcing him to lose control and go mad." ...
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Amnesty International Japan - Center for abolition of Death Penalty is asking for our help:
In Japan, next execution will be taken place in next June. In order to prevent Japanese government from executing prisoners, I'd liket to let you send letters to show your concern on execution in Japan.
Please send the letter to following address.
Minister of Justice, Kunio HATOYAMA
Ministry of Justice
1-1-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Prime minister, Yasuo FUKUDA
office of Prime Minister
2-3-1, Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Sample message is below.
I would like to express my grave concern on execution in Japan.
I would like to remind you of the recent UN General Assembly's adoption of resolution 62/149 calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions, which was supported by an overwhelming majority.
I believe that death penalty is absolutely a denial of the right to life and brings a culture of violence to the society.
I call for immediate reintroduction of moratorium on all executions as a first step towards the total abolition of the death penalty in Japan.
Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in English or your own language.
28 May 2008
Amnesty International Japan
Center for abolition of Death Penalty
Amnesty International Japan
Campainer for abolition of Death Penalty
4FKyodo Bldg.2-2 Kandanishiki-cho,Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo 101-0054
TEL. 81-3-3518-6777 FAX. 81-3-3518-6778