Two Japanese death row inmates executed over 1988 robbery-murders of Cosmo Research president and employee
Japan Times -- Dec 28
Two death row inmates who killed a company president and an employee at the firm were hanged Thursday morning in Osaka, the Justice Ministry said, bringing the number of executions in the country this year to 15.

The executions were the first carried out since 13 former members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult were hanged in July and the first ordered by Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita.

The two convicts were 60-year-old Keizo Okamoto, an ex-yakuza, and Hiroya Suemori, 67, a former investment adviser. They were hanged at the Osaka Detention Center.

They were both sentenced to death in September 2004 for fraud, kidnapping and murdering a president and worker of an investment company, as well as orchestrating another scam targeting a brokerage firm.

The two were convicted of kidnapping and strangling 43-year-old Kazuo Kengaku, the president of investment firm Cosmo Research Corp., in an apartment building in Osaka on Jan. 29, 1988, after robbing him of some ¥100 million in cash.

On the same day, they murdered Hiroyuki Watanabe, a 23-year-old employee of the investment firm. Watanabe had earlier been tricked into giving the two killers information about Kengaku’s whereabouts. To conceal the heinous crime, Okamoto and Suemori buried the two bodies in concrete and dumped them in a mountainous area of Kyoto Prefecture.

Okamoto and Suemori also took stocks worth ¥140 million from a brokerage firm and both were found to be illegally in possession of guns.

News source: Japan Times
Mar 20
The head of the Japanese Olympic Committee has announced he will step down when his term expires in June. (NHK)
Mar 19
The government will soon start discussing how to achieve a stable Imperial succession, including the creation of female branches of the royal family. (Japan Times)
Mar 15
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe suggested Thursday he has no intention of serving another four-year term as president of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party when his third term expires in September 2021. (Japan Times)
Mar 14
Journalists on Wednesday were given a guided tour of the Izumo — Japan’s largest flat-topped helicopter carrier — for the first time since the Defense Ministry revealed a controversial plan late last year to convert it so that it could handle fixed-wing aircraft — which critics and some opposition lawmakers say could make it capable of offensive operations. (Japan Times)
Mar 09
The governor and mayor of Osaka tendered their resignations Friday to seek election in each other's current position with the aim of reorganizing the major city into a metropolitan government system similar to Tokyo's. (Japan Today)
Mar 06
A former school operator and his wife will go on trial on Wednesday at the Osaka District Court in western Japan. The former president of Moritomo Gakuen is at the center of a favoritism scandal that rocked the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. (NHK)
Mar 05
Japan's Imperial Household Agency has decided to allow members of the public into the Imperial Palace grounds on May 4 to celebrate the enthronement of the new Emperor. (NHK)
Mar 02
A Self-Defense Forces recruitment office in Shiga Prefecture has caused a stir by releasing a poster that features female anime characters wearing super-short skirts, which expose what appear to be underwear. Some people have described the image as a form of sexual harassment. (Japan Times)
Mar 02
Of the 10,956 town and village assembly members in Japan, 8,442, or 77.1 percent, were aged 60 or over as of July 1 last year, a survey showed Thursday. (Japan Times)
Mar 02
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe “fully” supports the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to walk away from talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam, a move that resulted in the summit meeting ending abruptly Thursday without a deal. (