Sangmin Bae, International Norms, Domestic Politics, and the Death Penalty: Comparing Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan
Why do countries with similar cultures and political institutions respond differently to international norms? The varied responses among East Asian democracies to the growing international movement to abolish the death penalty show that Japan has been the most resistant, while Taiwan and South Korea have moved closer to embracing the international human rights norm. The movement in these latter countries toward a moratorium on capital punishment has little to do with public opinion, which generally favors retaining the death penalty. Rather, it reflects specific domestic political contexts, especially the power and autonomy of the executive and the experience of a drastic regime change, that open the way for rethinking human rights norms.
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