Human Lives Human Rights: Japan has carried out its first execution of the year by hanging Tomohiro Kato, a man who was convicted of stabbing seven people to death in 2008.
Regardless of the crimes he had committed, the hanging of Tomohiro Kato is a callous attack on the right to life because Tomohiro Kato was in the process of requesting a second retrial of his death sentence.
Carrying out an execution during a request for retrial clearly violates international safeguards set out to protect the rights of those facing the death penalty.
The Japanese authorities should immediately introduce a moratorium on executions as a first step toward abolishing the death penalty entirely — and commute all death sentences to terms of imprisonment.
On 21 December 2021, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida ordered the first execution of his administration. Tomohiro Kato’s hanging marks the second execution carried out since Kishida assumed office in October 2021.
Rights groups oppose the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the individual, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.