Asia/Pacific

Japan hangs 3 inmates in first executions since 2019

Japan carried out its first set of executions under Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida Tuesday as three death row prisoners were executed, CNN reported

The execution was the first in Japan since 2019, when a man was executed for murdering his family in 2003, according to CBS News. In 2018, 15 people were executed in the country, including 13 cult members who were convicted for a deadly 1995 gassing attack in Tokyo’s subways. 

The three men who were hanged Tuesday were Yasutaka Fujishiro, 65, who was convicted for murdering seven people in 2004, and Tomoaki Takanezawa, 54, and Mitsunori Onogawa, 44, who were convicted for killing two employees in a game parlor in 2003, reported CNN, citing the Japanese Justice Ministry. 

“These are extremely brutal cases, taking precious lives for selfish reasons. I think these are terrible incidents not only for victims who lost their lives but also for bereaved families,” Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa stated at a news conference, according to CNN. 

“As justice minister, I authorized their executions after giving extremely careful considerations again and again,” Furukawa added.

The prisoners were executed by hanging, which is how all executions are carried out in Japan, according to CNN. 

The men hanged on Tuesday were given short notice of their executions’ timeline, according to CBS. According to the outlet, Furukawa defended the short notice, citing a “serious mental impact,” if they had known further in advance. 

The families of those executed in Japan are typically notified even later, per CNN, learning of their relatives’ hangings only after they are already deceased.

“The recent appointment of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was a chance for progress on human rights in Japan. But today’s abhorrent resumption of executions is a damning indictment of this government’s lack of respect for the right to life,” said Amnesty International Death Penalty Adviser Chiara Sangiorgio in response to Japan’s executions, according to CNN.

There are currently 107 people on Japan’s death row, CBS News reported. 

There are very few democratic nations that still enforce capital punishment, according to Amnesty International, an organization that advocates for human rights and opposes the death penalty. Japan is among those nations, as is the United States, though the legality and use of the death penalty varies from state-to-state.

Tags Amnesty International Capital punishment execution Fumio Kishida Hanging Homicide Japan Mitsunori Onogawa Murder Tokyo Tomoaki Takanezawa Yasutaka Fujishiro
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