For the first time ever, the Japanese justice officials took a few journalists to see its execution chambers. All executions in Japan are done by hanging. Hiroko Tabuchi’s NY Times article describes the process:
The inmate is handcuffed and blindfolded before entering the execution room, officials said. Three prison wardens push separate buttons, only one of which releases the trapdoor — but they never find out which one. Wardens are given a bonus of about $230 every time they attend an execution.
Japan’s capital punishment system has gotten a lot of crap from the UN and other human rights activists. There’s no pardoning, and inmates (and their families and lawyers) aren’t told when they’ll be executed until the day of. This has gotten a lot of scrutiny, but officials claim it’s to quell panic.