Japan: First execution of the year a ‘callous’ attack on the right to life

Responding to the news that 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, Hideaki Nakagawa, director of Amnesty International Japan said:

“The hanging of Tomohiro Kato is a callous attack on the right to life. Regardless of the crimes he had committed, he should never have suffered the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of the state.

“Tomohiro Kato was in the process of requesting a 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. Today’s hanging of Tomohiro Kato marks the second execution carried out since Kishida assumed office in October 2021.

Amnesty International opposes 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.