[ SOCIAL AND PASTORAL BULLETIN No. 138 / Jun. 15 .2007]
<APRIL - JUNE 2007>

[Objection to Executions]
On April 27, 2007, three prisoners, one of them a Catholic Mr. Tanaka Masahiro, in a death row were executed in Japan. Protesting the executions, the Religious Community Network "Stop Death Penalty" made a public statement and the Tokyo Jesuit Social Center that is part of the Religious Network sent also a written protest to the Minister of Justice.

[Common Action against Death Penalty]
Mr. Nagase, the Justice Minister, during his short term in office has twice signed the executions of 7 prisoners in a death row. Following the executions of 4 prisoners on Christmas Feasts last year, three more had been executed last April 27. People speaking out on the abolition of death penalty, facing a crisis, organized a public gathering in Tokyo protesting the executions on the evening of May 13. About 90 participants attended. Among them there were several Christians
In order to put an end to the flow of executions and to renew the movement to stop death penalty new efforts were planned to attract more public interest through a "Stop All Executions! - Common June action." The Religious Community Network "Stop Death Penalty" has joined the movement.

[Ninth Seminar Against Death Penalty]
In the evening of last May 28, the 9th seminar of the Religious Network "Stop Death Penalty" was held in Fukuoka, at the Daimyocho Catholic Church with the participation of 50 people and the presence of American Sister Helen Prejean that had been invited to speak at the seminar. Sister Helen Prejean has been involved in the campaign to review the case of the false charge of death sentence in the so called "Fukuoka criminal case." The theme of the address was "Religious persons and the end to death penalty from the American experience" Sister Helen Prejean spoke vigorously of her Christian involvement searching for healing and reconciliation among criminals in a death row with their families and the victims and their families together, accepting the suffering from both sides. Again, she appealed to Japanese, fond of life and peace, to stop as soon as possible death penalty. She expressed her belief that the system of death penalty to curb crime by force is similar to that of making war against terrorism, an action that produces a chain of violence.

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