August 27th, 2010
10:19 AM ET

Japan reveals long-secretive execution process

Red tape marks the trap door through which an inmate falls as he or she is hanged.

Japan, one of the few industrialized countries with the death penalty, showed one of its execution chambers to the media for the first time Friday.

Reporters were shown the death chamber at the Tokyo Detention Facility, one of seven used across the country, according to a report in the Mainichi Daily News.

Pressing a button in another room releases the trap door.

The unprecedented media access was ordered by Justice Minister Keiko Chiba, who after witnessing the deaths of two condemned prisoners last month, said she wanted to have a national debate on capital punishment in Japan, Mainchi reported. Chiba has previously spoken against the death penalty.

Execution in Japan is carried out by hanging.

The chamber showed to the media on Friday had no noose suspended from the ceiling but showed a trap door outlined in red. The condemned fall to a room below the execution chamber where their deaths are confirmed.

Reporters were not shown that room out of "consideration for the inmates' family and wardens," according to the Mainichi report.

A room where inmates are told they are about to be executed and can meet with a chaplain.

They did see other areas involved in the execution process, including the room where a button is pushed to release the trap door, a room where the condemned can get religious last rites or an entry room where inmates are told they are about to be executed.

In an accompanying article in Mainichi, prison officials described Japan’s execution process, long shrouded in secrecy.

The two men executed on July 28, Ogata Hidenori, 33, and Shinozawa Kazuo, 59, were the first put to death since the August 2009 elections in Japan, according to Amnesty International. The organization says 107 prisoners remain on death row in Japan.

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Filed under: Death Penalty • Japan • Justice
soundoff (610 Responses)
  1. Yankee Doodler

    Guns don't kill people. People with guns kill people. So the solution is to kill people who kill other people with guns.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dwighthuth

    Wanna know what it feels like to be electrocuted? Stick a live cable wire in your mouth that is plugged into a device that is ran off of a 120 volt house outlet.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. RP

    I could not understand in the first place why these people were put to death penalty. I guess because they have done some terrible thing and court decided to incarcerate them. But if court orders a death penalty than we are no less guilty than the people who are incarcerated.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. DLewis

    I was just hanging around my office reading some of these posts and I'm LMAO – literally choking on my water. You guys slay me.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. parkcitybrian

    im somewhat it death by hari kari or is it harry carey or it having to listen to mariah carey?

    August 27, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Beware

    Guilty of murder? Enter with the lions, it's feeding time.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Big Country


    August 27, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. delphin

    I'd rather get shot by a person who can't aim and somehow ends up shooting himself!

    August 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. george in texas

    All civilized countries are against death penalty. I don't get the conservatives: they are against abortion but for death penalty. DNA tests have nullified so many death sentences. The jury system has no way of proving things conclusively. let's get rid of death penalty, let them work hard and provide labor instead. may be they can serve in afghanistan like Lee Marvin's dirty dozen.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Against it

    Its so dehumanizing. I would at least want my last moment to be outdoors. Under the sky. This is sickening.

    August 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jeremy

    I commend my soul to any god who can find it.

    August 27, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Michelle

    Barbaric. I’m glad I live in a nation where the death penalty was abolished over 30 yrs ago. I don't understand how civilized societies can embrace this as an option.

    August 27, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Arglebargle

    All things being equal...I'd rather not be in Philadelphia.

    Put those determined to be guilty in a circular room just big enough for them to stand in, with holes at eye-level all around and a button under each hole. They are required to press a button. All but one would be loaded with a powerful shotgun charge. If they survive they get off, if not, high pressure water will clean up most of the mess.

    August 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. What The Did

    An important part of the article has been left out, why these two were put to death. While leaving that out can create sympathy for these two, look at their crimes before you feel sorry for them:

    Shinozawa set fire to a jewelry shop in 2000, burning SIX women to death.

    Ogata strangled a woman and stabbed a man to death in 2003.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Barnabas Jones

    Don't forget with the death penalty we can harvest the criminals' organs and finally put them to good reuse.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
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