Government poll indicates 85.6% of Japanese support death penalty

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Monday, February 8, 2010

An opinion poll performed by the Japanese government reported that 85.6 percent of respondents consider the death penalty "unavoidable". The survey, released this Saturday, registered the highest percentage since 1994, when the government began conducting the polls.

For the survey, 3,000 men and women aged 20 or older were polled nationwide between November and December last year. However, only 64 percent of respondents –1,944 people– gave valid answers. They could choose more than a reason to support their opinion about capital punishment.

Of the people who favor execution, 51.2 percent said that the number of murders would increase if the death penalty were abolished. In addition, 54.1 percent considered the feelings of victims and families would not find consolation if criminals did not pay with their lives.

Only 5.7 percent expressed being against capital punishment in Japan. Of this group, 55.9 percent think criminals should pay for their crimes kept alive, and 43.2 percent said it would be impossible to avoid miscarriages of justice.

The Japanese government performs this survey every five years. Compared to the previous poll, conducted in 2004, the number of death penalty supporters rose by 4.2 percent, while the proportion of people against it decreased by 0.3 percent.