France urges Japan to suspend executions

France urges Japan to suspend executions
Photo: Ken Mayer
France on Thursday urged Japan to restore a moratorium on capital punishment after the hanging of two death-row inmates which took to seven the number of executions carried out this year.

"France expresses it regret over the executions carried out today (Thursday) in Japan," said foreign ministry deputy spokesman Vincent Floreani.

"France urges Japan to restore the de facto moratorium observed in 2011 and to launch a national debate on capital punishment," a statement said.

Sachiko Eto, 65, and Yukinori Matsuda, 39, were executed on Thursday for murder.

Japan did not execute anybody in 2011. It was the first full year in nearly two decades in which the country did not carry out a single death sentence amid a muted debate on the rights and wrongs of the policy.

France is set to launch a campaign on October 9 at the United Nations for a universal ban on capital punishment.

Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialised democracy to carry out executions, a practice that has led to repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups.

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