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. Mark

    How about death by product testing. They could be the reason for the disclaimer in drug testing: Warning: can cause your eyes to bleed unexpectedly, an inexplicable urge to kiss a horse's ass, anal leakage and in some cases DEATH.
    Speak with your doctor about trying this drug.

    August 28, 2010 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. jojo

    This form of death penalty is non-productive. With millions of men women and children around the world waiting for much needed and scarce vital organs, these proven criminals can be put to much better and productive use. Human trafficking abounds around the world, and usually the poor are unwilling victims to save the rich, as they skip the long waiting lists to save themselves or their loved ones, while the poor or non-rich have to wait while criminals' organs are thrown away.

    Use some logic- give something back to the society harmed by these criminals instead of simply removing a bad apple from it.

    August 28, 2010 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  3. Graham

    One innocent executed for a crime he or she didn't commit is one too many. It's why Michigan became the first English-speaking territory to abolish the death penalty, in 1847. And it's why states like North Carolina, where there have been innocents who have escaped Death Row only because they persisted and didn't give up, needs to abolish it.

    For the record, I only support the death penalty for treason. It's the only crime that can be committed in which all the factors that can influence a capital case – race, gender, social standing, etc. – don't come into play, because one person or a group of people can jeopardize the entire society.

    August 28, 2010 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tom White

    If you're shot dead during a murder, that's understandable.... but if you're put to death after it, that's not? Why? I guess some will think that it's revenge, but I disagree. If a dog kills, we put it down. If a human kills, put the human down. Doesn't have to be revenge; it's just a way of dealing with the situation. If it's because the killer is only a killer or a threat while in the act of killing, I disagree.

    August 28, 2010 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. Russell

    Of course a person with an uneasy stomach would want to abolish the death penalty after having witnessed such an event. I realize the segment also stated that, "Chiba has previously spoken against the death penalty", however she didn't truly care to dive in & begin giving these events any "air time" with the associated press until after having actually witnessed a fellow human being put to their death.

    Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make you a far happier and more productive person.
    -Dr. David M. Burns

    August 28, 2010 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
  6. William F. Hagen

    A massive dose of propofol would be very humane, no pain whatsoever, instant unconsciousness, rapid death shortly thereafter.

    August 28, 2010 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Adelchi

    Captain it is not logical to consider wrong an action and then do the same and call it justice.
    There is a lot of confusion in this planet, an action is wrong if commited by a civilian, and is right if commited by police.
    This planet don't have reliable values and principle.

    August 28, 2010 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kathy

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

    She?? I would be all of them are male as males commit 90% of all violent crime.

    August 28, 2010 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  9. Kathy

    For rapist or child molesters, the noose should not be around his neck, it should be around his balls.

    August 28, 2010 at 5:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. theitvideos

    The Justice Minster finally saw it with her own eyes and she will do justice for others who are on a Death row.

    August 28, 2010 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. ekes bernet

    as intense as it look,think about if its you in grave danger,this is irrevocable.

    August 28, 2010 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  12. Riel23

    They need to make the death penalty cheaper. I mean, how cheap can it be to hung or shoot a convicted murderer. I know people who would do it for free, no need for all those extra expenses. As soon as you get your sentence, you should be going straight to the ropes or to the firing squad, simple as that. Maximum time from sentence to execution should be a week. And make it public too. That will act as a deterrent to any people who might be thinking about killing and rapping someone. That of course, after a fair and just trial has been conducted in which irrevocable, undisputed proof and evidence is given. It is better to let a guilty person go free than to execute an innocent one. Just my two cents.

    August 28, 2010 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. Maverik

    hmmm, why don't they slice yer gut out like in the movies? or chop yer head off like in one of them samurai flicks? yeeehawwww!

    August 28, 2010 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  14. max

    I'd rather have a funnel duct taped around my neck, my throat slashed so that I would drown in my own blood.

    August 28, 2010 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
  15. fanta

    A Country of war criminals executing others....unbelieveable hypocrisy !

    August 28, 2010 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
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