I think most people in the United States, and possibly in other countries as well, believe that the United States is the only wealthy democratic nation that still has capital punishment. That the only other nations to utilize capital punishment are nations like China, Iran, North Korea or other regimes in places like Africa.
Many people would be surprised to hear that Japan also has capital punishment as well. Although I have known for a while that Japan conducted executions, I was surprised that there were 15 executions in Japan in 2008. I had thought there were only a few each year at the most. This I discovered from a Daily Yomiuri article. I was also surprised that these 15 prisoners were executed after spending only an average of 4 years on death row. In the United States, I believe the average is probably closer to 15 to 20 years.
The article stated that 2008 was the first time since 1976 that more than 10 people were executed in one year. It also stated that the relatively short time on death row was due to the Justice Ministry's goal of making the waiting periods shorter.
I have doubts about capital punishment in general with the many stories I have read about of prisoners being released after 15 or 20 years after new DNA or other evidence comes out proving their innocence. It is scary to think of any prisoners executed who may not have been guilty but that DNA technology did not exist at the time. Because of this, four years on death row before being executed seems to be not a good idea.