Japan hangs two killers
Japan hanged two death-row inmates in Tokyo and Osaka Friday in the first executions since March, raising this year's total to five, news reports said.
- Published: 3/08/2012 at 04:21 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
The Justice Ministry identified the two as Junya Hattori and Kyozo Matsumura, Jiji Press reported.
Hattori, 40, kidnapped and raped a 19-year-old student in 2002 before burning her to death at a building site in the central Japanese city of Mishima, the report said.
Matsumura, 31, killed two relatives in 2007 and stole their money. He was hanged in the western city of Osaka.
The executions were the first under Justice Minister Makoto Taki, bringing the total number for the year and for the administration of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to five.
"We need to make judgements prudently, but when we conclude that a specific case inevitably warrants an execution, we think we should not hold back," Taki was quoted by the Kyodo News agency as saying.
Japan carried out executions every year from 1994 to 2010 but had none in 2011. On March 29, three convicts were hanged under former justice minister Toshio Ogawa.
Amnesty International Japan lodged "a strong protest" against the executions and criticised the government for "adhering rigidly to executions."
"While execution is a punishment defined under law, if what the law says is contrary to the norms of international human rights, it is incumbent on the government and the justice minister to make efforts to revise the law," the group said.
Japan and the United States are among the few major industrialised democracies that still impose death sentences.
After Friday's executions, the number of death row inmates in Japan stands at 130, including Shoko Asahara, the founder of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, and his followers.
The cult's members were give death sentences in the 1995 gas attack on the Tokyo subway system, which killed 13 and made thousands ill.
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- Writer: dpa