Japan hangs 2 death-row inmates; 1st executions this year
Japan Today -- Aug 04
Japan hanged two death-row inmates Friday morning, the Justice Ministry said, in the country's first executions this year.

The two were identified by the ministry as Koichi Shoji, 64, who murdered two women in Kanagawa Prefecture in 2001, and Yasunori Suzuki, 50, who killed three women in Fukuoka Prefecture between 2004 and 2005.

"I ordered the executions based on careful consideration," Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita said at a press conference, noting the two "took away the lives of the victims who had done nothing wrong, for very selfish reasons."

The latest hangings brought the number of executions under the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office in 2012, to 38.

They follow the executions last December of two men who were involved in the 1988 murder-robbery of the president and an employee of an investment advisory company. Japan also hanged Aum Shinrikyo cult guru Shoko Asahara, 63, and 12 former members of the doomsday cult in July last year.

Shoji was convicted of killing and taking money from Hiroko Hayashi, 54, in August 2001, and Fumiko Osawa, 42, in September that year in conspiracy with his girlfriend. His death sentence was finalized after the Supreme Court rejected his appeal in November 2007.

Suzuki was found guilty of strangling to death 18-year-old Nana Kubota in Iizuka and fatally stabbing 62-year-old Toshiko Onaka in Kitakyushu, both in December 2004, as well as stabbing to death 23-year-old Keiko Fukushima and taking her handbag in Fukuoka, the following January.

法務省は2日朝、確定死刑囚2人の死刑を執行しました。令和になって初めての執行です。 山下法務大臣:「何ら落ち度のない被害者の方々の尊い人命を奪うなどした極めて残忍な事案であります。慎重なうえにも慎重な検討を加えたうえで、死刑執行を命令した次第であります」 庄子幸一死刑囚(64)は2001年、交際していた女と共謀して神奈川県大和市で主婦2人を殺害したうえ、現金を奪った罪などで2007年に死刑が確定していました。鈴木泰徳死刑囚(50)は2004年12月から1カ月の間に、福岡県飯塚市などで路上を歩いていた女性3人を強盗や乱暴目的で殺害した罪などで2011年に死刑が確定していました。山下大臣は先月31日に執行命令書に署名したということです。これで第2次安倍政権以降、38人の死刑が執行されました。
News sources: Japan Today, ANNnewsCH
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