Friday, December 17, 2010

Speaking in Asia, Part Two

(See yesterday's post for Part One)

In Mongolia, Toshi lectured at two universities and then at a police academy in UlaanBaatar, addressing an audience of several hundred students in training to be police officers.

Here, he is speaking to students at Mongolia University:

And here he is addressing the police academy group and showing his photographs of death row inmates, victims' families, and others involved in the issue.

Here we see the audience of police officers in training, listening to Toshi's presentation.

All these events were valuable opportunities to introduce listeners to aspects of the death penalty that they had not previously considered, including the idea of victims’ family members opposition to it.

In addition to his lectures, Toshi also held several valuable meetings. He met with a man who had been released from Mongolia’s death row after being found innocent, with the country’s Japanese ambassador, with a member of Parliament, with a Capital Judge, and with advisors to the President of Mongolia. He also gave an interview to a newspaper journalist.

This photo shows the meeting with the Judge:

And, here, Toshi is meeting with advisors to the President of Mongolia:

This trip to Mongolia, in particular, was vital in terms of its timing. The president of Mongolia has publicly announced his opposition to the death penalty, but over 80% of the country's people are believed to be in favor of the death penalty. Thus the president needs a great deal of support from the international community to carry the momentum of his original statement of opposition to the death penatly and to implement that into law before his term is up in 2012. Toshi's trip on behalf of MVFHR in November was a step in this process.

In Japan, Toshi gave several more university lectures; he spoke at Sofia University, Tsuda University, and Hitotsubashi Law school. He also lectured to a religious group at Kameoka, Kyoto, gave media interviews, and participated in a meeting of the board members of Ocean, MVFHR’s Japanese affiliate group. As Toshi traveled throughout Japan and met with activists there, he engaged in useful brainstorming discussions about developing an effective anti-death penalty campaign in this country. Meanwhile, the feedback from MVFHR's speaking tour in Japan, Taiwan, Province of China, and South Korea this past June has been extremely positive.

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