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死刑執行 法相が重い職責を果たした

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Mar. 31, 2012)
Justice minister fulfills heavy responsibility
死刑執行 法相が重い職責を果たした(3月30日付・読売社説)

Three death-row inmates were executed Thursday. They were the first executions under the Democratic Party of Japan-led government in 20 months since two inmates were executed in July 2010.
 3人の死刑が29日、執行された。民主党政権では、一昨年7月の2人以来、1年8か月ぶりの執行となる。

Regarding the death penalty, which is the ultimate punishment, the Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that executions of death-row inmates are carried out at the order of the justice minister. Executions are not performed unless the justice minister signs an execution order.
 究極の刑罰である死刑について、刑事訴訟法は「執行は法務大臣の命令による」と定めている。法相が執行命令書に署名しなければ、行われない。

Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa said at a press conference after Thursday's executions, "It's a painful duty, but it's my responsibility." Ogawa fulfilled a heavy responsibility imposed on the justice minister to maintain order in the nation.
 署名した小川法相は執行後の記者会見で、「つらい職務だという気持ちは持っているが、職責だ」と心境を語った。国の秩序を維持する上で、法相に課せられた重い責務を果たしたと言えよう。

Among the six justice ministers so far under the DPJ-led government, former Justice Minister Satsuki Eda did not order executions because of his position that capital punishment should be abolished. Former Justice Minister Hideo Hiraoka also was cautious about executions.
 民主党政権で法相を務めた6人のうち、江田五月元法相は死刑廃止の立場から執行せず、平岡秀夫前法相も執行に慎重な姿勢を崩さなかった。

No executions were carried out last year, the first time that had happened in 19 years. The number of death-row convicts had increased to 135, the highest in the postwar period.
 昨年1年間は19年ぶりに執行がゼロとなり、死刑確定者は戦後最多の135人に増えていた。

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Duty defined by law

As a country ruled by law, it is naturally impermissible for a justice minister not to perform a duty defined by law because of his or her thoughts and beliefs, and for this to influence the pace of executions.
 法相が個人の思想・信条から法律で定められた職責を果たさず、その結果、執行のペースが左右されることは、法治国家として本来許されないことである。

If the former justice ministers who did not order executions oppose the death penalty system and had decided from the first not to order executions, as politicians they should not have accepted the post.
 死刑制度に否定的で初めから執行しないと決めているのなら、政治家として法相の職を引き受けるべきではなかっただろう。

The inmates executed Thursday committed heinous crimes, including random attacks in which one inmate murdered five people and injured 10 at JR Shimonoseki Station in 1999.
 今回、死刑が執行されたのは、1999年にJR下関駅で5人を殺害し、10人に重軽傷を負わせた通り魔殺人など、いずれも凶悪事件を起こした死刑囚だ。

Bereaved families who one day suddenly had their loved ones' lives taken away strongly desire harsh punishment for death-row inmates.
 ある日突然、大切な家族の命を奪われた遺族の死刑囚に対する処罰感情には峻烈(しゅんれつ)なものがある。

Ogawa said at the press conference, "The right to decide how crimes should be punished rests with the people."
 小川法相は記者会見で、「犯罪に対して、どのような刑罰で臨むかを決める権利は国民にある」と述べた。

There is strong opposition against the death penalty system from some groups, including the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, which has submitted a request to the justice minister urging the ministry to start discussions on abolishment of the system.
 死刑制度を巡っては、日本弁護士連合会が制度廃止についての議論を始めるよう求める要請書を法相に提出するなど、一部に強い反対論もある。

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Widespread support for system

According to a Cabinet Office survey, however, as many as 85.6 percent of respondents support the death penalty system. Many people are concerned that the bereaved families of crime victims will not be healed if capital punishment is abolished and that heinous crimes may increase. This is a weighty fact.
 だが、内閣府の世論調査では、死刑制度を容認する国民が85・6%に達している。多くの国民が、死刑を廃止すれば、遺族の感情が癒やされず、凶悪犯罪が増えると懸念している事実は重い。

In addition, the lay judge system that began in 2009 and in which ordinary citizens participate in trying cases has so far handed death sentences to 13 defendants. As long as the system requires citizens to make a tough decision on whether to choose capital punishment, it is proper and appropriate for the justice minister to fulfill his or her responsibility.
 加えて、2009年から一般の市民が参加する裁判員裁判が始まり、これまで13人に死刑判決を言い渡している。市民に死刑を選択するかどうかの苦渋の決断を求める以上、法相が自らの責務を全うするのは当然である。

Carefully and strictly checking rulings in which capital punishment has been finalized and implementing the death penalty system calmly in accordance with law will help increase the people's faith in justice.
 確定判決を詳細かつ厳正にチェックした上で、法に従って粛々と制度を運用していくことが、国民の司法に対する信頼を高めていくことにつながるだろう。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, March 30, 2012)
(2012年3月30日01時39分 読売新聞)
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by kiyoshimat | 2012-04-01 06:24 | 英字新聞

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