Mai Sato

Assoc Professor

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Death penalty, extra-judicial killings, war on drugs, attitudes towards punishment, research methods (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods)


Research output per year

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Personal profile


Mai is the inaugural director of Eleos Justice and her academic focus is on the death penalty. She is a social scientist by training and has led and worked on projects on the death penalty in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. Her monograph The Death Penalty in Japan: Will the Public Tolerate Abolition? (Springer, 2014), and her documentary film which captured a social experiment exploring what the death penalty meant to ordinary Japanese citizens, influenced the decision by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations to become an abolitionist organisation in 2016.  

Mai’s interest in the death penalty is not limited to scholarly understanding of punishment and the criminal justice system. After completing a European Commission funded project, Mai has created and currently co-runs an NGO CrimeInfo which promotes the abolition of the death penalty in Japan.  
Mai has a PhD from King’s College London. She relocated to Australia in February 2019 and joined the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) at the Australian National University. Prior to joining the ANU, she worked at the School of Law, University of Reading; the Centre for Criminology, the University of Oxford; and at the Institute for Criminal Policy Research (UK).

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output

Reasons to Doubt: Wrongful Convictions and the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Hoyle, C. & Sato, M., 2019, 1st ed. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press. 383 p. (Oxford Monographs on Criminal Law and Justice)

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

Reframing the debate on attitudes towards the death penalty

Sato, M., 2019, Comparative Capital Punishment. Steiker, C. S. & Steiker, J. M. (eds.). 1st ed. Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, p. 301-318 18 p. (Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Open Access

From measuring support for the death penalty to justifying its retention: Japanese public opinion surveys on crime and punishment, 1956–2014

Sato, M., 2018, Crime and Justice in Contemporary Japan. Liu, J. & Miyazawa, S. (eds.). 1st ed. Cham Switzerland: Springer, p. 237-252 16 p. ( Springer Series on Asian Criminology and Criminal Justice Research).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

Press / Media

Is Zimbabwe ready to abolish the death penalty?

Mai Sato


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Article/Feature