The European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of EU Member States and the Heads of Mission of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland issue the following statement in Japan:
On 2 August 2019, the government of Japan carried out the executions of two prisoners, Koichi Shoji and Yasunori Suzuki, the first two executions since December last year.
In keeping with our consistent strong and principled position against the death penalty, we oppose the use of capital punishment under any circumstances, and continue our active pursuit of its abolition worldwide. The death penalty is cruel and inhuman, is impossible to reverse in the case of errors, and has not been shown to act as a deterrent to crime.
Therefore, the European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of EU Member States and the Heads of Mission of Iceland, Norway and Switzerland repeat our call to the Japanese authorities to adopt a moratorium on executions, recalling the period of 20 months prior to March 2012 during which no executions took place in Japan.
Furthermore, alongside like-minded organisations and individuals in Japan and elsewhere, we call for an urgent and thorough review of capital punishment within the criminal justice system, and call on Japanese authorities to promote a wide public debate on this issue.
Such a debate is important to allow the public to assess for themselves the experiences and evidence from other countries, including European ones, that the abolition of the death penalty can strengthen the capacity of judicial systems to effectively deliver justice, prevent irreversible miscarriages of justice, and meet with public approval.