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. RoadkillFajitaOfLove

    Marge Schott was a person.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Soylent Green

    Save taxpayer $$ by instant death being the only option with no repeal possible. Surviing family choses death method (state choses if no family). Maybe if crimes were so severe, you would not break the law and someone would finally shut these dam bleeding pro-lifers.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. xstonuge

    In the old days they were outside in convient public locations for everyone to enjoy. I personally would enjoy seeing a few pedephiles being hanged or put into a ring with a tiger. It would bring in billions in sales and I want my share too k....

    August 27, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John Wheatnuts

    I would rather be r@ped up the butt and the choked to death by a large black p3nis

    August 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gail Snail

    The problem with The Death Penalty in the US is that the criminal has more rights than the victim, and the criminal just keeps on living thru the Appeals Process.

    1) Limit the Appeals Process to only 1 appeal. It's 1 more than the victim got.

    2) After losing their appeal, execution needs to be carried out in a timely manner. Let's say within 6 months of losing the appeal. This gives the criminal enough time to get his/her affairs in order and time to say good-byes to loved ones. Another thing the victim did NOT get.

    3) Why are vicious criminals being "put to sleep" like beloved family pets? Hang them or put them before a firing squad. It's supposed to be a punsihment.

    August 27, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. timmy v

    Put them all in a room with Sarah Palin. Within 10 minutes they will all be dead. After watching her on TV for 1 minute, I'm ready to kill myself. Something about her voice makes a sane man insane.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. mike hung

    If life in prision is such a better punnishment than the death penalty, they why aint all the people sentanced to life in prision begging for death? Why aint people who have been on death row for 15 or 30 years appealing their sentance begging to get it over with because anything is better than sitting in a cell another day? That is just a poor arugment for the weak who oppose the death penalty. The truth is spending one day realizing that its your last day on eath is more firghting and more punnishing that spending 30 years knowing you will die in another 10 years or so in prison. And thats why we should have the death penalty as punnishment.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • trixen

      mike hung: In some countries, they are.

      August 27, 2010 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. trixen

    Capital punishment is justice. Remember–we're talking about convicted KILLERS here.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Graham

      Capital punishment in the form of life in prison without the possibility of parole is true justice. The larger problem is, only a select few lives are deemed worthy of being avenged with the death penalty. The vast majority of capital cases in this country, the defendant is sentenced to life. Somebody has to make a decision whose live is that valuable for somone else to die for it. And that decision isn't consistent enough, especially when race, gender and other factors are thrown in.

      August 28, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  9. Troll

    death by reading message boards = cruel and unusual punishment

    August 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sean Webb

    The death chamber is furnished and decorated better than my last apartment.

    August 27, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Dammaged

    It's probably quicker and more humane than what Katrina and New Orleans' people are going to and have been going through.

    August 27, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ramana Shiu

    Looking at the hundreds of entries about the subject,.......amazing how death by execution can have such appeal

    August 27, 2010 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. H Roark

    The death penalty ensures the murderer will never again murder. All too often, convicted murderers end up outside of prison, only to commit another murder(s).

    August 27, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ramana Shiu

    458 comments........this must be the biggest number of entries. Amazing how death by execution has such appeal !

    August 27, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rob

    I've been shot, and I'm hung...so I got that going for me

    August 27, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
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