Inmates on death row are not told when they will be executed until the last minute – a procedure Japanese officials say prevents panic among inmates – and their family members and lawyers are informed only afterward, as are the news media.
The inmate is handcuffed and blindfolded before entering the execution room, officials said. Three prison wardens push separate buttons, only one of which releases the trapdoor [for hanging] – but they never find out which one. Wardens are given a bonus of about $230 every time they attend an execution.
The full story is here, interesting throughout. The murder conviction rate in Japan is 99 percent, some of which is likely due to false or pressured confessions.