21st December, 2021
The Japanese Ministry of Justice said three prisoners on death row were executed on Tuesday, the first in Japan since December 2019.
The execution was the first under Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration.
The three were identified as Yasutaka Fujishiro, 65, who killed seven of his relatives in Hyogo Prefecture in 2004, Tomoaki Takanezawa, 54, and Mitsunori Onogawa, 44.
They were convicted of killing two employees at two separate pachinko parlours in Gunma Prefecture in 2003.
Fujishiro was sentenced to death by the Kobe District Court in western Japan in May 2009, and the decision was finalised in June 2015 after an appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court.
The Saitama District Court near Tokyo sentenced Takanezawa and Onogawa, who also robbed one of the victims and stole money from one of the pachinko parlours to death.
The death penalty on Takanezawa was finalised in July 2005 after he withdrew his appeal, while Onogawa’s sentence was finalised in June 2009 at the Supreme Court.
Following the executions, the number of inmates sitting on death row in Japan stands at 107.
After the executions, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara told reporters it is “not appropriate to abolish (the country’s death penalty system) considering the current situation in which heinous crimes continue to occur.”
“Many Japanese think the death penalty is unavoidable in the case of extremely malicious crimes,’’ Seiji said.