The Japan Times
Amnesty hits government on death penalty
By MASAMI ITO
The head of Amnesty International's Japan chapter blasted the government Wednesday for negligence in promoting public understanding of human rights, saying such inaction fostered public backing for capital punishment.
"It is actually the government's fault that the majority of people in Japan support the death penalty because (the government) has failed to take any action," said Makoto Teranaka, secretary general of AI Japan.
Teranaka's criticism came as the human rights watchdog released its annual report on the state of human rights around the world.
The group stresses in its report that world leaders should apologize for failing to live up to their promise to respect human rights in the 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948.
The nearly 400-page report covers the human rights situation in 150 nations and territories, including Japan, the United States, China and Myanmar, between January and December 2007.
In Japan, the report points out, nine people were executed in 2007 — the 11th highest number worldwide — and at least 107 people were on death row. Seven inmates have been put to death so far this year.
The U.N. General Assembly adopted a nonbinding resolution last December calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty.