The Diet Members’ League for Abolition of the Death Penalty, a parliamentary group of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, has drafted legislation to replace the death penalty with life in prison. In addition, the bill would establish panels in both Houses of the Diet to study capital punishment. The bill does not propose an immediate abandonment of capital punishment, but instead imposes a four-year moratorium on executions. During this time, the parliamentary panels would be charged with reaching a consensus on the abolition of capital punishment in three years.

In 2001, the Council of Europe adopted a resolution that threatened to review the observer status of Japan and the United States if the two countries failed to take steps toward abolishing the death penalty.

(Japan Times, June 23, 2003) See International Death Penalty.