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. Kathy

    For rapist or child molesters, the noose should not be around his neck, it should be around his balls but of course the male population may decrease by at least 10 to 25%

    August 28, 2010 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Cahty, I love this idea but I think it should be done in public and since these men think women are trash, women should put the rope around their balls and than trip the trap door so they know it is women who will remove their balls.

      August 28, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. CapitalPunishment4All

    So...uhh...when are the states gonna get this?

    August 28, 2010 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    America should just become like Singapore. If you are caught with a gun, life in prison. If you use a gun in a crime you are put the death and no 20 year on death row bs. It is very shortly after. If you steal they cane you. There is minimal crime they have cameras on all their buildings. The city is super clean, no cig butts, no gun/trash everywhere. The reason america could never do this is because there are just so many criminals. We need to speed up the death penalty and clear out our prisons, no more life without parole I say just kill em all save some taxpayers money. How about we revert back to Hammurabi's code an eye for an eye. The world is on a downhill spiral and it won't stop until we have destroyed ourselves completely. BTW..I live in America

    August 28, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. long ago

    I submit that the death penalty is perfectly natural. Step back many many years, when there were no written laws,
    rudimentary language, and caves. A family member is dead because he was gathering fire wood and was
    robbed of his wood and killed by a transient person. My neighbor witnessed this horror and reported it to me.
    Upon verifying what I now believe to be true, I find a stick/stone and kill the offender. Case closed. No one in
    my tribe has any problem with this at all. There is no intellectual discussion about it.
    My own conclusion is simply that as a society we wrestle with our natural instincts versus the law.
    Personally, I find it totally acceptable to "whack" someone when there is no doubt about their guilt.

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

    Why be a prisoner. Death is freedom. Hell is not real. Killers win.

    August 28, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. bro2044

    ok, death by ... tiki tiki

    August 28, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. julie

    it seems cruel to hang someone but then again we have lethal injection which is too humane for killers that inflict pain on others have no remorse i am all for capital punishment but this is cruel why is barbarism still allowed shoot them its more quick to die and no pain. For killers I hope you die a slow death preferable cancer.


    August 28, 2010 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. julie

    excuse me keeping someone on death we people pay for it through our taxes cheaper are you kidding get real shoot them they killed someone with no remorese who had families and loved ones and you want to keep them in jail for life sorry wrong answer. we have the death penalty for a reason killing is wrong if you murder someone pay for it astop being a coward and face up to it like a man should. Firing squad is quicker and cheaper bullets don;t cost money keeping on them on death row does and we tax people pay for it. grow up!

    August 28, 2010 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lax

    I wish captial punishment system abolishes one day. I live in CA where this system is in place. I feel so sad on the day when i hear someone going to be executed today or next few days. Humans are bad for nature and themslef. I prey not to be born as human in next birth. The law books need to be rewritten and the justice system entirely need to given on young folks hand.

    August 28, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Lax

    Texsas is worst of all. I heard on some news that they might have executed innocents.

    August 28, 2010 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Carl

    Sick. I can't believe first world countries still do this.

    August 28, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. JC

    I think the condemned should be locked in a padded room, and then forced to listen to Barry Manilow's greatest hits or anything by the Cranberries until they expired. There should be a button they could push to electrocute themselves rather than continue listening. The Supreme Court might consider that cruel and unusual, I suppose.

    August 28, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  13. pdidy

    death by chocolate.

    August 28, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
  14. julie

    maybe when your family member is brutallu murdered like mine was the death penalty seem like a good idea but its too good for the trash that murder others i say stand in front of a firing squad and end it no appeals justice and spare the keep them on death row nonsense which is crap. how much millions do we pay for them to eat and have appeals until its time to execute them. think what good that money can do we should use the penalty more maybe then criminals will know iof you kill someone by by see ya in hell.

    August 28, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bocar

    At least they don't have an automated factory!

    August 28, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
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