More death row docu-films

According to the Mainichi Online, a new film depicting the roles of prison wardens working in Japan’s death-row will go on show this weekend.

The film will apparently feature the death-rows’ “crutch,” the name given to prison wardens who are given the task of supporting the inmate as they stand on the gallows and wait for the trap door to open beneath them. Supposedly the “crutch” is given a weeklong holiday in advance of this to compensate for the displeasure of the execution and the film shows the struggle the warden faces, knowing he is about to help end a prisoners life whom he has got quite close to.

“It’s an austere film, but one with plenty of feeling about it,” says the article.

This film comes at a time when executions are gaining more and more attention in Japan.

According to the Asia Sentinel, “Public opinion polls in recent years show that more than 80% of those responding favor capital punishment, a rate higher even than in the United States and a formidable obstacle for any abolitionist movement. The bipartisan Diet Members League for the Abolishment of Capital Punishment, led by Kamei, has only 72 out of more than 480 members of the Diet’s lower house.”

Although unsure about the accuracy of opinion polls, it is often agreed on that debates about capital punishment are not given enough focus in Japan. Like the radio broadcast of an execution aired recently, hopefully this film will bring more people to question whether we really want to keep on with executions as we near the beginning of the lay judge system.

See previous blog:

Execution to be broadcast on air: http://www.japaninc.com/node/3149

Update: Death penalty in Japan: http://www.japaninc.com/node/3343

Mainichi Online – about the film: http://mdn.mainichi.jp/culture/waiwai/news/20080606p2g00m0dm001000c.html


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