Japan's bar federation to push for abolition of death penalty

Japan's bar federation will for the first time call for the abolition of the death penalty, local media reported Wednesday.

In 2011, the federation urged the government to begin public debate on the death penalty, but did not explicitly call for its abolition, according to the Kyodo news agency.

The proposal by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations will be submitted for formal adoption at its annual human rights meeting in October, Kyodo reported.

The federation is aiming to have the death penalty abolished by 2020 when the United Nations Crime Congress is held in Japan, during which policymakers meet to discuss UN standards on criminal justice and crime prevention.

Japan, which carries out executions by hanging, is one of the few developed countries which still enforces capital punishment.

The federation has proposed that sentences of life without parole be considered instead of the death penalty.

Sixteen people have been executed in Japan since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power in December 2012.

Opponents of the death penalty urge Tokyo to impose a moratorium on executions, but government officials say they see no reason to abolish the death penalty because public support for it has remained high.

About 80 per cent of Japanese support the measure, according to government surveys over the past two decades.

Last update: Wed, 21/09/2016 - 10:21

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