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International Norms, Domestic Politics, and the Death Penalty: Comparing Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan

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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 while Taiwan and South Korea have moved closer to embracing the international human rights norm, Japan has been more resistant. The movement in Taiwan and South Korea 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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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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