Date: September 2, 2014
Time: 4 PM
Place: Procrastinator Theater, Strand Union Building

Title: Is Death Different? Capital Punishment in the United States and Japan

Sponsoring department: Sociology & Anthropology


Japan and the United States are the only two developed democracies that retain capital punishment and continue to carry out executions on a regular basis. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that because death is a different form of punishment in its severity and irreversibility, special procedures and protections are necessary to ensure that it is administered fairly, justly and accurately. By contrast, in Japanese law and practice death is not deemed to be different from other types of punishment. Johnson will describe the contours of Japanese capital punishment, and discuss several ways in which the premise that death is not different leads to problems in Japanese law and practice.

About the speaker:

Johnson is the author of "The Japanese Way of Justice: Prosecuting Crime in Japan," which received awards from the American Society of Criminology and the American Sociological Association. He also co-authored "The Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change and the Death Penalty in Asia." From 2010 to 2013, he was co-editor-in-chief of "Law & Society Review."