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Amnesty is a measure to nullify punitive authority without trial,or to change or nullify contents or effects of trials.Japan has the following five types of amnesties:
general amnesty,special amnesty,commutation of sentence,remission of execution of sentence, and restoration of rights.
In terms of implementation methods,amnesties can be roughly divided into(1) amnesties by Cabinet Order,which are implemented uniformly for all persons who satisfy the conditions provided under Cabinet Orders regarding types of offense and sentence,base date,and so forth(general amnesty,commutation of sentence,and restoration of rights)and(2) individual pardons which are granted to specific persons based on individual examinations(special amnesty,commutation of sentence,remission of execution of sentence,and restoration of rights).Individual pardons can be further divided into routine pardons and pardons by special standards. Routine pardons are implemented at any time while pardons by special standards are implemented for a fixed period of time based on criteria decided by the Cabinet.
Amnesties by Cabinet Order come into force on the date of enforcement of the Cabinet Order concerned.In case of an individual pardon,a public prosecutor,warden of penal institution,or director of probation office makes a recommendation for a pardon of a person to the National Offenders Rehabilitation Commission.If the Commission considers it reasonable to grant a pardon after examining the recommendation,it applies to the Minister of Justice for a pardon.After the Cabinet makes a decision that a pardon is to be granted,the pardon is finally validated with the approval of the Emperor.
The amnesties granted in2003were routine pardons only. Table 2-5-5-1 shows the number of persons granted routine pardons by Cabinet Decisions in2003,by applicant and type of pardon.Some16persons were granted remission of execution of sentence and64were granted restoration of rights.Remission of execution of sentence is mainly granted to terminate parole supervision for life-imprisonment parolees,who are deemed to have already been rehabilitated.Restoration of rights is a measure to restore a status that was annulled or suspended by law,when a person is deemed to have already been rehabilitated but is prevented from pursuing social activities due to the restricted status.Both amnesties play a role to promote the social integration of those people.
Table 2-5-5-1 Number of persons granted routine pardons,by applicant and type of pardon(2003)