Iwao Hakamada has always maintained his innocence and his forthcoming retrial gives him the possibility to have it recognized. But time is of the essence. He is 88 years old and his health, including his mental health, is poor.

Iwao was arrested 57 years ago, convicted and sentenced to death 55 years ago, based on a “confession” extracted through torture or other ill-treatment, as well as evidence that is likely to have been fabricated and planted. It has been nine years since the Shizuoka District Court granted his request for a retrial and temporarily released him from death row, but the repeated appeals from the prosecutions stalled the beginning of the proceedings.

It was only on 13 March 2023 that the Tokyo High Court ruled in favour of the beginning of his retrial, pointing out that “there is a possibility that a third party hid the five items of clothing” that were the main basis for the conviction and that the evidence could have been fabricated by a third party, going as far as stating that “the third party is most likely an investigative agency.”

However, about a month later, on 10 April, at the first meeting between the Shizuoka District Court, the Shizuoka District Public Prosecutors Office, and the defence team, the prosecution requested a three-month period to decide on whether they would continue to seek to prove Iwao’s guilt. On 10 July, the prosecutors announced that they would.

After nine long years waiting for his retrial to begin, the first hearing will take place on 27 October. The unfairness in his case has been decades long. Urge the Japanese authorities to ensure that the retrial is carried out without undue delay, and conducted fairly to protect his human rights and dignity to the utmost.

Add your name to the petition calling for justice for Iwao Hakamada.



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  Our Petition

Chief Prosecutor 
Shizuoka District Public Prosecutors Office  
Shizuoka Legal General building  
9-45 Otemachi, Aoi Ward  
Shizuoka, 420-0853


Dear Chief Prosecutor,

As the retrial of Iwao Hakamada is about to begin, I write to ask you to take all steps to preserve the fairness of the proceedings and seek a prompt resolution of this case. Iwao Hakamada is 87 years-old and in poor health, after he has spent close to 60 years facing legal proceedings, and the threat of execution for more than 40, for a crime that he maintains he did not commit.

In its March 2023 decision, the Tokyo High Court ruled that the blood-stained clothes − the evidence that was the decisive factor in his conviction − could have likely been fabricated and planted. I ask you to exclude these pieces from the evidence brought against him. I also request that you seek that the retrial is carried out without undue delay.

I call on you to ensure, on your part, that the protection of human rights and dignity of Iwao Hakamada are put at the centre of the forthcoming retrial.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]