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 activity 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).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or