Friday, May 30, 2008

JAPAN - Help needed

Excerpt from "Death row is not knowing when - Inmates wake up every day wondering if it's their last" (taken from Japan Death Penalty Information Center)

..."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." ...

Please read complete text here

Amnesty International Japan - Center for abolition of Death Penalty is asking for our help:

Dear all,

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.


Dear Minister,

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.

Yours respectfully,
***your name***
***your address***

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 
Ryosuke Matsuura 

4FKyodo Bldg.2-2 Kandanishiki-cho,Chiyoda-ku,Tokyo 101-0054
TEL. 81-3-3518-6777 FAX. 81-3-3518-6778

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