Japan´s Death Row Hit as “Psychological Torture

TOKYO, FEB. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Prison conditions of death-row inmates in Japan go against the most elementary human rights and are equivalent to a form of torture, a European official says.

Gunnar Jansson, president of the Council of Europe, voiced that opinion Sunday, as he led a mission to study capital punishment in this Asian country.

Currently, 54 prisoners await execution in Japan. Such convicts know nothing about what will happen to them until a few hours before the execution. “It is a situation of psychological torture, which is unacceptable for any country that describes itself as civil,” Jansson stressed.

The council´s mission was organized in Japan by the Parliamentary League Against the Death Penalty. Jansson did not exclude the possibility that Japan will be stripped of its observer status in the Council of Europe, which it obtained in 1996.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the council will meet in Strasbourg, France, this June to examine the situation in observer countries, among them Japan and the United States, in which the death penalty is still enforced.