August 2, 2006

HOW DO YOU SAY FOX BUTTERFIELD IN JAPANESE?:

To kill or not: Japanese decide (Suvendrini Kakuchi, 8/03/06, Asia Times)

A rare essay posted on the Web by a crime victim who does not call for the death penalty for the culprit has become a potent symbol for activists who face an uphill battle to abolish Japan's capital punishment laws. [...]

According to activists like Sakagami, Yamaguchi represents one of only a handful of voices in Japan that courageously call for a public debate on the death penalty despite high approval ratings. Some 81% of the public support the death penalty; of that, 60.3% said executions are necessary to deter heavy crimes. [...]

Still, activists like Sakagami and Amnesty International Japan point out that the call for harsher sentencing comes at a time when crime has fallen in Japan. The Justice Ministry's latest report cites 22,568 serious crimes in 2004, a decrease of 1,403 from the previous year. Violent crimes, including murder but not theft, comprise 3.5% of the total.


A classic in why folks distrust the media, focusing on a non-existent opposition to something that works. Of course, Japan's harsh morality is part and parcel of why it ranks so well on corruption indices

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 2, 2006 3:30 PM
Comments

"the call for harsher sentencing comes at a time when crime has fallen in Japan" The reason crime has fallen was because of the harsh sentence perpetrators would get if they'd committed a violent crime. Ergo harsher sentence has a harsher deterrant effect on violent crimes. Btw, the main reason for capital punishment is revenge. Why should a murderer's life more valuable than his victim's? Every civilized society should value each and every citizen's life equally. A murderer's life has no more value than his victim's, a murderer who does not value his victim's life does not deserve to have his life valued by others. Thus, capital punishment for capital crimes is the most justified sentence in a civilized society.

Posted by: ic at August 3, 2006 12:52 AM

ic:

Nope, just aging. Old folks don't commit crime like young ones.

Posted by: oj at August 3, 2006 7:45 AM

We still want to mind ya, but we forget to get around to it.

Posted by: erp at August 3, 2006 11:08 AM

"the call for harsher sentencing comes at a time when crime has fallen in Japan" The reason crime has fallen was because of the harsh sentence perpetrators would get if they'd committed a violent crime.

The harsh sentence may be part of it. On the other hand, part of it may be (a) the Japanese police can hold you incommunicado four over a month for interrogation (in the police-controlled daiyou kangoku system), (b) the Japanese police are widely believed to engage in mild torture to extract confessions, and (c) conviction rates approach 100%. There is no jury. If you're indicted, you might as well just give up -- it's almost guaranteed that you're going to jail.

All these are aspects of the Japanese criminal justice system that groups like Amnesty International complain about regularly, just as they complain about Japan's liberal imposition of the death penalty. But they do work, pretty much.

Posted by: Taeyoung at August 3, 2006 12:30 PM
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