Japanese prisoners file £22m lawsuit over 'inhumane' same-day executions

5 November 2021, 16:49

According to the government there are 112 prisoners on death row
According to the government there are 112 prisoners on death row. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Two Japanese prisoners on death row have filed a lawsuit over “inhumane” same-day executions.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The inmates have asked for £22m yen in compensation for the distress caused by the practice and have asked for changes to be made to allow prisoners time to file objections.

Currently, prisoners on death row in Japan are only informed hours prior to their execution, which is "meant to keep prisoners from suffering before their execution".

But the practice has been met with wide criticism from human rights activists who say prisoners live with constant anxiety not knowing when their last day will be.

According to the government there are 112 prisoners on death row but no executions have been carried out in almost two years.

The prisoners lawyer, Yutaka Ueda, said: "Death row prisoners live in fear every morning that that day will be their last. It’s extremely inhumane.

"Japan is really behind the international community on this."

Read more: Bedsit killer: hotline for distraught families over fears he abused hundreds of corpses

Read more: Cleo Smith kidnap suspect winks as he's taken to maximum security prison

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in Osaka, is believed to be the first legal challenge of its kind.

In 2019, Amnesty International hit about at the “barbaric” punishment stating: "Executions in Japan are shrouded in secrecy, with prisoners typically given only a few hours' notice and some given no warning at all before their death sentences are carried out.

"Their families are usually notified about the execution only after it has taken place."

They branded the punishment as s "shameful black mark on Japan’s human rights record" claiming it shows a "shocking lack of respect for the right to life" by the Japanese government.

But according to reports public support for capital punishment remains high despite international criticism.