Dec 19, 2017
TOKYO - Japan hanged two death-row inmates Tuesday morning in the 20th and 21st executions since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in December 2012, sources close to the matter said.
Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa ordered the executions, the first since July, the sources said.
Japan's capital punishment policy has drawn international criticism, while the Japan Federation of Bar Associations has called for it to be abolished by 2020, demanding lifetime imprisonment instead of the death penalty.
Kamikawa said in a press conference for her inauguration as justice minister in August, "I would like to carefully and strictly deal (with executions) in line with laws and with respect for judgments of the courts."
She ordered the execution of one inmate when she filled the position of justice minister for about a year from October 2014.
In July this year, Kamikawa's predecessor Katsutoshi Kaneda gave orders to hang two male inmates.
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