At the age of around 12 I recall leading a school debate opposing the reintroduction of capital punishment; I'll never forget the incredible vitriol against such a notion from the pro-hanging lobby on the floor. I didn't stand a chance as the motion was defeated almost unanimously. It was as ugly as it was unexpected, and now, as then, it's one of the few fixed beliefs about which I feel passionately.
The recent media access to Tokyo Detention House's sterile carpeted place of execution belies, or perhaps underscores, its horror; in full contrast to the cold grey-tiled room to which the hanged man, heart still beating for up to 15 minutes, is dropped and delivered below. The prisoner, in permanent solitary confinement, is only informed an hour or so beforehand of his impending death, after which the final insulting cruelties are proffered: a goodbye meal and face time with a fucking priest.