At least 87 prisoners currently remain on death row in Japan. The last execution took
place on 16 September 2005, when Kitagawa Susumu was hanged for two murders
committed in the 1980s. Since 2000, 11 prisoners have been executed. In their cases
the appeal process took between 10 to 16 years. Other prisoners have, however,
been on death row since the 1960s with their cases still under appeal.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances
considering it a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and
degrading punishment. The organization continues to hope that Japan, in 2006, will
take steps to follow the strong international trend away from the use of capital
punishment and abolish the death penalty.