Japan’s Justice Minister Hatoyama on Death Penalty

Hatoyama Kunio, Japan’s Justice Minister, gave an interview in the magazine Weekly Asahi last October that has been reprinted on Japan Focus, (a peer reviewed electronic journal and webzine on Japan), and reported recently in the Japan Times. The interview has some fascinating nuggets, but none so interesting as Hatoyama’s explanation for why Japan should continue to uphold the death penalty in contrast to Western countries:

Interviewer: Why should Japan not consider abolition?

Hatoyama: As the Japanese place so much importance on the value of life, it is thought that one should pay with one’s own life for taking the life of another. You see, the Western nations are civilizations based on power and war. So, conversely, things are moving against the death penalty. This is an important point to understand. The so-called civilizations of power and war are the opposite of us. From incipient stages, their conception of the value of life is weaker than the Japanese. Therefore, they are moving toward abolition of the death penalty. It is important that this discourse on civilizations be understood.


5 thoughts on “Japan’s Justice Minister Hatoyama on Death Penalty

  1. I guess logic can justify anything. It sounds about as logical as Bush’s reason for invading Iraq (another kind of death penalty).

    It’s nice to see you’re back.

  2. Oddly enough, Hatoyama is making the same arugment for the death penalty that conservatives in the United States do: that to show our reverance for life we have to kill those who kill. So his argument that his point of view represents something deeply unique about Japan doesn’t hold water.

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