Death Penalty in Japan: Principles and Practice
Law Institute of Victoria
470 Bourke St, Melbourne
T: 8344 6847
This seminar will focus on why Japan retains capital punishment, how this institution of state killing has changed in recent years, and why there are conspicuous continuities in Japan’s death penalty policy and practice. Four causes of continuity will be stressed: the rarity of exonerations in Japanese criminal justice; a jurisprudence that does not treat death as a different criminal punishment requiring special procedures and safeguards for capital defendants; a high degree of secrecy surrounding executions and death sentencing; and a society in which race and class are not considered salient factors in the administration of capital punishment. Reform in Japanese capital punishment could progress by challenging these causes of continuity.
Dr Tagusari will provide special commentary from her perspective as a lawyer who has represented death row inmates and as founder of the Center for Prisoners’ Rights Japan.
Dr Maiko Tagusari, Adjunct Lecturer of Law
Dr Maiko Tagusari
Adjunct Lecturer of Law
Dr Maiko Tagusari is a founding member of the Center for Prisoners’ Rights. Established in 1995, it is Japan’s first national NGO dedicated to prisoners’ rights issues. She has served as SecretaryGeneral since 2009. She works in the areas of criminal defense and human rights violations in penal institutions, and has represented many death row inmates. She is Vice SecretaryGeneral of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations’ Committee on Prison Law Reform and is a member of the JFBA’s Committee on the Abolition of the Death Penalty and Committee on Capital Defense. She earned her LL.B from the University of Tokyo, and her Ph.D. from the Graduate School of Law, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. She is an adjunct lecturer of law at Hitotsubashi University.
Professor David T. Johnson, Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Law
Professor David T. Johnson
Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Law
University of Hawai’i
David T. Johnson is Professor of Sociology and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is the author or coauthor of many articles about crime and criminal justice in Japan and three books: 'The Japanese Way of Justice: Prosecuting Crime in Japan' (Oxford University Press, 2002); 'The Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia' (Oxford University Press, 2009, with Franklin Zimring); and 'Koritsu Suru Nihon no Shikei [Japan’s Isolated Death Penalty]' (Gendai Jinbunsha, 2012, with Maiko Tagusari).