This is a view of Japan’s heretofore top-secret execution chamber, where inmates are hanged.
The unprecedented media access was ordered by Justice Minister Keiko Chiba, who after witnessing the deaths of two condemned prisoners last month, said she wanted to have a national debate on capital punishment in Japan.
Such a national debate will be incredibly interesting to follow.
While it’s tempting to discuss how disconcerting it is that process of executing criminals is so secretive in Japan, it’s important to think carefully about how much effort is undertaken in the United States to shield the death penalty from the eyes of a public who claims to vehemently support it.
After all, the vast majority of executions in the U.S. are carried out deep in the heart of prisons that are far removed from population centers, in the wee hours of the morning, and in front of only a tiny number of witnesses.
Though no one is saying as much, it seems clear that having a better view of the process is unlikely to bolster support for it. Just ask all of the former prison wardens who have spoken out against capital punishment in recent years [See, for example, here, here and here].
The full article on Japan is here.
A more complete description of Japan’s death penalty is here.