30 Mar 2012

Japan executes first prisoners since 2010

12:49 pm on 30 March 2012

Japan has resumed its use of capital punishment after a 20-month break, with death warrants signed for three multiple murderers.

The convicts who went to the gallows were all multiple murderers.

The justice minister said he was acting in line with public opinion, which overwhelmingly supports the death penalty.

Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialised democracy to condone capital punishment, a practice that has led to repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups.

Under the Japanese system, death row inmates can wait for their executions for many years in solitary confinement and are only told of their impending death a few hours ahead of time.

Some 132 people are currently on death row in Japan.