Japan executes its death row inmates only hours after the prisoner has been informed that they are about to be hanged, Danielle Wiener-Bronner over at The Atlantic writes.

The family of the prisoners are not informed of the execution until after it's already happened, and the inmates are only told they will be hanged hours before they are. In contrast to the lengthy waits and last-minute reprieves that is common in the U.S. justice system, Japan uses a "secret execution" program that keeps the date secret from the prisoners until only hours before they are hung.

The Guardian reports that "in a report published in 2008, Amnesty [International] said inmates in Japan were being driven insane and exposed to 'cruel, inhuman and degrading' punishment."

The prisoners spend years on death row being slowly driven insane that today might be the day they die.