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Maciamo
Feb 20, 2005, 22:23
Japan Times : Support for death penalty passes 80% for first time (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/getarticle.pl5?nn20050220a2.htm)


More than 81 percent of Japanese expressed support for the death penalty in a recent government survey, exceeding the 80 percent mark for the first time.
The rise appears to reflect deepening public alarm over a recent spate of serious crimes, including the kidnapping and murder of a girl in Nara.

The increase to 81.4 percent of respondents saying they support the death penalty was 2.1 percentage points higher than in the previous survey in November 1999, when the support figure was 79.3 percent.

Only 6.0 percent said the death penalty should be abolished, down 2.8 points from the 1999 poll.
...
The number of people saying they favor the death penalty has been increasing since hitting a record low 56.9 percent in a 1975 survey.


I had no idea so many people were in favour of death penalty in "cute and sensitive" Japan. Any relation with hidden frustration and secret desire for violence ?

thomas
Feb 20, 2005, 22:37
Any relation with hidden frustration and secret desire for violence ?
No, as the JT article indicated this seems to be more related to the recent tsunami of homicides/infanticides. While there is certainly a lot of hidden aggression and/or frustration in Japanese society I don't think that the application of dealth penalty is a feasible way of venting such feelings - unless NHK decides to broadcast executions live.

Lina Inverse
Feb 21, 2005, 00:25
No, as the JT article indicated this seems to be more related to the recent tsunami of homicides/infanticides. While there is certainly a lot of hidden aggression and/or frustration in Japanese society I don't think that the application of dealth penalty is a feasible way of venting such feelings - unless NHK decides to broadcast executions live.
I could very well imagine the US putting them on TV, but certainly not Japan.
I'd say the reason is the recent wave of crimes, especially the murder of the girl in Nara caused quite an outcry.

Pachipro
Feb 21, 2005, 00:40
I don't know if the law has been changed, but I think that the death penalty is still on the books. If I remember correctly, and I could be wrong, when a person is sentenced to death, neither the public nor the prisoner is ever told when the execution is to be carried out. When the fateful day arrives, I think on Fridays, the prisoner is informed and the execution, normally by hanging, is carried out. Then the public is informed. However, executions were, and I guess still are, rare in Japan.

Seems kind of cruel to the prisoner, but I guess it makes them sweat it out every week. If they're not called on Friday, they have another week of life.

Shooter452
Feb 21, 2005, 00:42
My question is not aimed exclusively at the current culture of Japan as much as it is toward any culture.

Does the use of capital punishment in itself pose a significant statement about that culture?

There seems to be a suggestion in our world that putting a person to death for any reason is "uncivilized," in and of itself. Captital punishment exists today in few nations--my own being one of them. Many talking heads on the world forum suggest that the use of the death penalty makes a nation barbaric. Do we here on JREF share that opinion? Is there no act for which a human being should forfeit his life?

This sounds like a subject that should be eligible for a poll, if it has not been done before now.

Pachipro
Feb 21, 2005, 00:57
I had no idea so many people were in favour of death penalty in "cute and sensitive" Japan. Any relation with hidden frustration and secret desire for violence ?
None at all. :silly: After posting my answer, I decided to do a little search on the subject to see if the death penalty was still in effect and came across this site which gives some pretty interesting answers.

http://www.japanfile.com/culture_and_society/social_issues/death_penalty.shtml

Brooker
Feb 21, 2005, 04:37
The support for the death penalty seems to be shrinking in America. My state (Washington) allows the death penalty and recently caught the worst serial killer in American history (Gary Ridgway, aka The Green River Killer) who's been terrorizing this area and a few others since the 1970's. He admitted to killing 48 women and is suspected to have killed many more. However, he avoided the death penalty by giving information on victims the police didn't know about. When that happened, I figured it meant the end of the death penalty in my state because, if you can't justify killing this guy, you can't justify it for anyone. I actually thought it was a great injustice because this man deserved to die.

Shooter452
Feb 21, 2005, 04:51
The support for the death penalty seems to be shrinking in America. My state (Washington) allows the death penalty and recently caught the worst serial killer in American history (Gary Ridgway, aka The Green River Killer) who's been terrorizing this area and a few others since the 1970's. He admitted to killing 48 women and is suspected to have killed many more. However, he avoided the death penalty by giving information on victims the police didn't know about. When that happened, I figured it meant the end of the death penalty in my state because, if you can't justify killing this guy, you can't justify it for anyone. I actually thought it was a great injustice because this man deserved to die.

That's a guy who deserved to fry! I read the book, by Smith & Guillen. What got me was how close they came to nailing that perp so many times. The signs were there, but no one could read them.

It musta been hell to live through all of that, dude. Nothing is more vexing to me than to be unsure of the safety of loved ones. In a chaotic situation like the Green River murders, no one's womenfolk were safe.

In the northeast, support for Murder One death sentances seems to have narrowed to the cases involving police murders--cop killers. Although I understand well the reasons (killing a LEO is regicide, a condition cops cannot abide) many might wonder what makes the death of policeman more egregious than killing anyone else. Still, in the USA, there is a constant thirst for vengence that coats our entire legal system, IMHO.

Brooker
Feb 21, 2005, 06:59
Shooter wrote...

That's a guy who deserved to fry! I read the book, by Smith & Guillen. What got me was how close they came to nailing that perp so many times. The signs were there, but no one could read them.

Yeah, I can remember being scared about it when I was growing up. For a long time they thought the killer was dead because they didn't find many bodies in the 90's. Turns out, he was still killing people, he was just getting better at hiding them. Many of the women he killed, they didn't even realize had been murdered because they were prostitutes and no one asked any questions when a prostitute disappeared.

Hitting close to home, my coworker's sister was killed by Gary Ridgway. They didn't even realize she'd been killed until Ridgway admitted to it recently.

Elizabeth
Feb 23, 2005, 21:28
I didn't realize this until reading the Japanese, but the question was, in typically Japanese fashion, actually :

"Do you think based on the current situation, capital punishment is inevitable/unavoidable?" (場合によっては死刑もやむを得ない ) not whether it was personally supported or not (死刑廃止論に対する賛否). The latter was the earlier ('89) wording, which makes them totally noncomparable, although unwavering opposition in all cases is a distinct minority (8, 6)% according to the two polls respectively.

At any rate, I might have replied it is also unavoidable in the US even though I'm not myself in favor of it, because obviously 'avoidance' comes from a lot of political and legal factors without consideration of the morality or ethics of state sanctioned killing.

In fact, only 61.7% of respondents said it should not ever be abolished (roughly the same that think heinous crimes will go up if it were abolished), in contrast to 31% who believe if the crime situation improves, it should be. And 6% who are against it in all cases.

Get the full story here....

http://www.asahi.com/national/update/0219/016.html

Maciamo
Feb 23, 2005, 21:37
No, as the JT article indicated this seems to be more related to the recent tsunami of homicides/infanticides.

I don't think the recent homicides/infanticides have much to do with that, whatever JT says, because after their statistics, the approval rate of death penalty has only increased by a few percent in the last years, and even the lowest rate recorded ever was over 50%.

What's more, death penalty does not reduce crime (the US have proven it well enough), so it's really only an ideological issue - or a practical one, as it's cheaper for taxpayers to execute prisoners than keep them for life (but maybe end up waiting for 10 or 20 years anyway, so even death penalty is not very cost-efficient).

Maciamo
Feb 23, 2005, 21:42
However, executions were, and I guess still are, rare in Japan.

I was told that the current Minister of Justice must sign the authorization for each execution, and many do not want to take such controversial decisions, and just leave it for their sucessor, until one finds the guts (well many Japanese, even politicians, share little in common with execution-addict GW Bush).

Maciamo
Feb 23, 2005, 21:52
The support for the death penalty seems to be shrinking in America. My state (Washington) allows the death penalty and recently caught the worst serial killer in American history (Gary Ridgway, aka The Green River Killer) who's been terrorizing this area and a few others since the 1970's. He admitted to killing 48 women and is suspected to have killed many more. However, he avoided the death penalty by giving information on victims the police didn't know about. When that happened, I figured it meant the end of the death penalty in my state because, if you can't justify killing this guy, you can't justify it for anyone. I actually thought it was a great injustice because this man deserved to die.

I would agree to have death penalty for such extreme cases of people killings a large number of human beings, especially if the criminal is caught red-handed and it is absolutely sure that there is no mistake regarding the murder's identity.

I would also agree to have capital punishment for leaders or terrorits, military or religious groups who order the killing of a large number of humans. I wouldn't even condemn the people following the orders in this case, but only the leader(s), even if they haven't killed anybody by themselves.

HOWEVER, let's play the devil's advocate for a while. In the specific case you mentioned above, it seems that the guy was playing a game leaving "clues" about the next victim, like in the best thriller movies. So, what if that guy became the "hero" of a new "true-story" movie that could entertain millions of people around the world for generations ? Wouldn't that compensate at least a little bit for his crimes ? Wouldn't that owe him a life sentence instead of execution ? Well, if you are human you can't ignore the fact the the worst criminals can also have a "positive" impact on society.

DoctorP
Feb 23, 2005, 22:04
HOWEVER, let's play the devil's advocate for a while. In the specific case you mentioned above, it seems that the guy was playing a game leaving "clues" about the next victim, like in the best thriller movies. So, what if that guy became the "hero" of a new "true-story" movie that could entertain millions of people around the world for generations ? Wouldn't that compensate at least a little bit for his crimes ? Wouldn't that owe him a life sentence instead of execution ? Well, if you are human you can't ignore the fact the the worst criminals can also have a "positive" impact on society.

I'm not sure that I follow you here? Are you saying that if they were to make a movie about this guys life and people enjoyed it that he should be allowed to live his life out in jail vs. facing execution? :?

Maciamo
Feb 23, 2005, 22:06
I'm not sure that I follow you here? Are you saying that if they were to make a movie about this guys life and people enjoyed it that he should be allowed to live his life out in jail vs. facing execution? :?

Yeah, you know, as a way of thanking him for diverting people for 2 hours. :p

DoctorP
Feb 23, 2005, 22:09
I thought that was what you were saying! :p In that case...HELL NO! Hell, we could fry 'em and then make the movie...so we'd never know if we liked it until after it was too late! :p Everyone wins...well not everyone!

Shooter452
Feb 23, 2005, 23:00
I thought that was what you were saying! :p In that case...HELL NO! Hell, we could fry 'em and then make the movie...so we'd never know if we liked it until after it was too late! :p Everyone wins...well not everyone!

I hoped for a debate over this topic but this is as likely as we are going to get.

My views on capital punishment are rather complicated.

I do not believe that capital punishment redeems any act for which it would be awarded. The dead are no less so and the kidnapped do not get their missing time back.

I do not believe that capital punishment really deters that much capital crime. Murder--the most common capital crime--is an act that is primarily one of violent emotion, when the perpetrator is not of a rational mind. Under such conditions it can be argued that the consequences of the crime are the least important consideration in the perp's mind. Some sociologists have suggested that anyone who commits murder is by definition not possessed of a sound rational mind and is therefore absent mens rea, ergo not responsible. I do not share this belief, but it must be mentioned.

So, if the death penalty cannot redeem and will not prevent, many ask why have it on the books. Besides the satisfaction of vengence, I can only think of one reason. It comes down to the Heinlein quote of "no one could stop him from killing once, but anyone can stop him from killing twice." Capital punishment prevents repeat offenders.

While this may seem to some to be of little enough social redeeming value, I suggest that such persons have never been forced to tell a father that the murderer of his daughter rang her up for free--the perp had already been found guilty of one murder. I once did. Not my best day.

Dura necessitas

Maciamo
Feb 23, 2005, 23:51
Can someone be against death penalty because it is barbaric, and yet be in favour of (physical & psychological) torture ? Some non-dead victims (of rape, kidnapping, etc.) or dead victim's family might prefer to see their abuser tortured than in jail for life or quickly executed. That can help them "get over it" as they feel they are getting a more suitable revenge...

Shooter452
Feb 24, 2005, 20:43
Can someone be against death penalty because it is barbaric, and yet be in favour of (physical & psychological) torture ? Some non-dead victims (of rape, kidnapping, etc.) or dead victim's family might prefer to see their abuser tortured than in jail for life or quickly executed. That can help them "get over it" as they feel they are getting a more suitable revenge...
I find that puzzling. Finding favor with torture but abhorring putting a felon to death...I do not offer criticism, just puzzlement. You do consider yourself to be morally sound and civilized? Yes?

Professor of Jurisprudence Alan Dershowiiz is alleged to have said: "The death penalty? That's no penalty, 'cause you're OUT of the game!"

DoctorP
Feb 24, 2005, 20:57
Weird as this may seem, I am against torture...no matter what the person did, but I am totally for the death penalty! BUT ... you must be postive that you have the right person in custody! The legal system must be postive that it is the right person if we are to put them to death.

Here is a twist: say you have some mentally ill person who says he did it, but actually didn't...do you feel guilty for having put him to death? :?

Shooter452
Feb 24, 2005, 21:06
Weird as this may seem, I am against torture...no matter what the person did, but I am totally for the death penalty! BUT ... you must be postive that you have the right person in custody! The legal system must be postive that it is the right person if we are to put them to death.

Here is a twist: say you have some mentally ill person who says he did it, but actually didn't...do you feel guilty for having put him to death? :?
I do not think that is weird at all, Cee-Cee.

I feel kinda guilty about every person I have sent to meet his maker, whatever the method. I have never served on a capital jury, but I have testified in several capital cases. When the needle goes in and the juice starts flowing, it is too late to worry overly much about absolute guilt or innocence.

In the case of your scenario, when ever the emotional or mental stability of a suspect is established, usually the Diminished Capacity defense takes capital punishment off of the table.

Dura lex, sed lex

DoctorP
Feb 24, 2005, 21:10
Let me clarify my example...the person is ill, but that is not common knowledge. Bottom line...do you feel guilty for sending a person to his/her death...even if it was something that they wanted?

Another twist...let's say the person is guilty and they ask to be put to death...does that take the satisfaction out of it all? :?

Shooter452
Feb 25, 2005, 03:17
Let me clarify my example...the person is ill, but that is not common knowledge. Bottom line...do you feel guilty for sending a person to his/her death...even if it was something that they wanted?

Another twist...let's say the person is guilty and they ask to be put to death...does that take the satisfaction out of it all? :?

Like I said, I feel guilty when ever anyone has his life taken and I am part of the process. But I depend on the legal system to work in order to weed out fringe cases like that.

Under my definition, I do not care whose idea it is. Once he assumes room temperature, its a slam-dunk that he will never kill anyone again. There is no other reason to put a person to death, AFAIK.

Leroy_Brown
Feb 25, 2005, 05:24
If 80% of the population of Japan want the death penalty, let them have it. They only execute vicious murderers.

Last time I checked, that's called "democracy."

If you don't plan on killing anybody in Japan and getting caught you won't have any problems.

Same as Bush getting re-elected. He didn't get into office in a coup de tat. He was democratically elected.

Brooker
Feb 25, 2005, 09:22
Seems like a lot of the time when people are put to death in America it's because they wanted to die and didn't fight it. If you keep appealing, you can be on death row forever. My thinking is, why punnish society by making them pay for a worthless person to live in jail for the rest of their life?

@Maciamo...
I don't know what you're on about there. :okashii: Making movies?

Leroy_Brown
Feb 25, 2005, 11:24
Seems like a lot of the time when people are put to death in America it's because they wanted to die and didn't fight it. If you keep appealing, you can be on death row forever. My thinking is, why punnish society by making them pay for a worthless person to live in jail for the rest of their life?


The difference in Japan is, the execution can be carried out rather swiftly. I heard recently a killer who had walked into a school yard and killed and injured kids was executed in about 6 months after the sentencing. Maybe then, somebody might start thinking twice before killing anybody.

If my kid was ever murdered, I wouldn't want my tax money housing and feeding the mother____ for the rest of his life.

Shooter452
Feb 25, 2005, 19:58
Seems like a lot of the time when people are put to death in America it's because they wanted to die and didn't fight it. If you keep appealing, you can be on death row forever. My thinking is, why punnish society by making them pay for a worthless person to live in jail for the rest of their life?

@Maciamo...
I don't know what you're on about there. :okashii: Making movies?

Death penalty convictions--after the appeals, clemency requests, reviews, etc are completed--tend to be so expensive that society seldom saves anything over housing the felons for life. For example, the famous case of Caryl Chessman lingered on for a decade before he was finally given his day in the gas chamber.

AFAIK, the problem with life sentences in the USA is that even when they are written by the courts with no-possibility-of-parole, we still tend to let convicted murderers out of prison, and in some cases to kill again. Those who remain incarcerated sometimes kill victims while inside penal institutions. The only virtue of capital punishment is that repeat offenses are not possible.

Brooker
Feb 26, 2005, 07:07
Death penalty convictions--after the appeals, clemency requests, reviews, etc are completed--tend to be so expensive that society seldom saves anything over housing the felons for life.

My answer for that would be to cut down on the appeals. In cases where they've obviously got the right guy, they shouldn't let him waste everyone's time and money, and just get on with it. Usually an appeal is based on some kind of legal technicality that occured in a previous court proceeding, rather than the accused claiming that he's innocent.

bossel
Feb 26, 2005, 08:17
In cases where they've obviously got the right guy, they shouldn't let him waste everyone's time and money, and just get on with it.
The problem is that sometimes you obviously got the right guy & ten years later on you find that the police overlooked something very substantial.

TwistedMac
Feb 26, 2005, 08:43
indeed. but how about keeping it for extreme cases?. Like when someone stabs a guy in the eye on live TV broadcasted around the world on a major television station, then proceeds to rape his corpse?

Ok, that's a bit extreme, but you get my point. If the guy is caught slashing in to the last parts of a mutilated body with his sharpened nails, howling at the moon, I say give him the chair.

Shooter452
Feb 28, 2005, 03:12
I support the appeal process for any number of reasons, but first of them is for my own sake. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that one of us could find ourselves accused someday. I want every protection in place, incase it is me.

I suppose that makes me selfish, but so be it.

Maciamo
Feb 28, 2005, 08:55
The problem is that sometimes you obviously got the right guy & ten years later on you find that the police overlooked something very substantial.

That is why I am only in favour of death penalty for (political/relgigious) leaders who order to commit murders, terrorist attacks, etc. In thatcase, it doesn't even matter whether the leader (eg. Bin Laden, Bush, Sharon, etc.) have killed anybody themselves, they are responsible for ordering people to do it. This is even clearer if the "orders" were mediatised on TV, in public speeches, etc.

The only other case for which I would admit death penalty is when someone takes a AK47 and start shooting on people in the street (or in a shopping centre, or whatever) and is caught on the spot by the police. Very often such people are shot on the spot by the police anyway - without trial needed. This is not officially recognised as death penalty, but has the same effects, and I know that some serious criminal have been killed by the police in this way also in Western Europe, where death penalty has long been abolished.