August 9, 2017 – This spring, the Walter Leitner International Human Rights Clinic partnered with Amnesty International Japan to prepare a white paper for the Japanese Ministry of Justice on procedural reform recommendations for the treatment of death row prisoners. These recommendations are based on comparative research and analysis of international human rights standards, United States law, United States federal and state prison reforms in capital cases, as well as proposals from respected human rights organizations.
In April, Professor Chi Mgbako, five clinic students, and a former clinic student serving as a pro bono clinical supervisor, traveled to Tokyo to formally present testimony and recommendations from the white paper to high-level representatives from the Japanese Ministry of Justice during a formal session at the Japanese House of Councillors, which was organized by leading Japanese politician Mizuho Fukushima. The meeting consisted of a formal presentation of the white paper by the Clinic, official responses to each of the Clinic’s recommendations from the Ministry of Justice, and an extended Q & A session between Ministry of Justice officials and Leitner Clinic representatives on the viability of potential reforms. Councillor Fukushima will be pursuing the Leitner Clinic proposals within the House of Councillors.