Campaign for Realizing
the Retrial of the Fukuoka Incident

< With the aim of gathering a hundred thousand signatures >

" I've wanted to scream so piercingly loud I'd crack the frigid full moon."

This is a cry from Mr. Nishi's spirit, who was executed in Japan on June 17th, 1975, in spite of appealing for his innocence as a falsely accused man. It was such a cruel execution after his 28 years of imprisonment. He had been arrested as the ringleader in a case of robbery and murder which became known as the Fukuoka Incident. This exclamation, however, was not only his own but also Rev. Furukawa's, whose life was devoted to the campaign to help release the innocent prisoners. And then their cries have become ours and they have now been succeeded by the campaign with Sr. Helen Prejean.
A picture of Buddha drawn
by Mr. Nishi in Prison
Sixty years have passed since the Incident took place. We filed a petition for the retrial to the High Court on May 23rd 2005. It was the first time in 30 years after Mr. Nishi's execution for filing a petition to the Court. This will be the first posthumous retrial of an executed man in Japan.

You might ask why we need a retrial for such an incident that took place so long ago. The first reason is that the main witness, Mr. Ishii, who can testify to Mr.Nishi's innocence is 90 years old and has been hospitalized. Also, one of the former defendants, Mr. Fujinaga, 81, suddenly passed away on May 18th 2006. So it is an urgent matter that we need to realize the opening of the retrial as soon as possible. Secondly, the Fukuoka Incident is the outstanding case of two notable ones where falsely accused men have been executed in Japan. Furthermore, we sincerely believe that winning this retrial will help progress our earnest wish - the abolition of the death penalty in Japan and beyond.

In order not to bury the truth of the Incident in the dark and not repeat such wretched brutality, we have resolved to persistently carry on our campaign. However, we seriously fear that our petition for a retrial may be rejected. Legal experts say that it is difficult, maybe a 99 percent impossibility to reach the opening of the retrial, much less to win it, especially as we don't have any new evidence for which we are still searching. However, we will not give up, because we still believe in that one percent of possibility. And so, for a further arousing of public opinion and to exert pressure on the High Court, we have started gathering signatures with the aim of collecting as many as possible by Spring, 2008. With many people's support, just like one drop of water constantly falling on the stone, we will wear the stone away.

We are also planning to do some concrete action in Spring 2008. We would like to invite all of you to join our campaign and we humbly ask you for your further support and suggestions to help us in anyway you can. Thank you.
Seimeizan Schweitzer Temple, Japan
" I hope you will join me in supporting this campaign that the Furukawa family continues to conduct in the spirit of their father. "
" On behalf of our more than 10,000 members worldwide, Death Penalty Focus ( DPF )actively supports the Furukawa family in their attempt to initiate a retrial for a wrongfully executed prisoner, Mr. Nishi. We firmly hope that proving his innocence with this retrial will help them reach the goal of abolishing the death penalty in Japan. "
Lance G. Lindsey, Executive Director, Death Penalty Focus