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
Aug 19
Police in Japan have arrested a man on a national wanted list who is suspected of forcibly stopping a car and beating the driver on a highway. (NHK)
Aug 19
Anime fans from around the world continue to visit Kyoto to mourn the victims of the arson attack on a famous animation studio one month ago. (NHK)
Aug 19
More than 2,000 people tested their skills at scooping up goldfish at an annual event in Nara Prefecture, western Japan, on Sunday. (NHK)
Aug 19
Japan's government is promoting private lodgings for tourists who will visit during the Olympic and Paralympic games next summer. (NHK)
Aug 16
A powerful typhoon ripped through western Japan on Thursday, leaving one man dead and about 50 people injured, while greatly disrupting summer holiday traffic. (Kyodo)
Aug 16
Japan's new emperor spoke Thursday (Aug 15) of "deep remorse" over the country's wartime past, in his first speech to commemorate the end of World War II since his enthronement in May. (channelnewsasia.com)
Aug 16
An estimated 12,751 people were rushed to hospitals due to heat-related conditions across Japan over the week from Aug 5, of whom 23 died, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said Wednesday. (Japan Today)
Aug 16
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has skipped a visit to the controversial Yasukuni shrine for war dead, but sent a ritual offering on the 74th anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender, a gesture likely to be criticised by Asian neighbours. (aljazeera.com)
Aug 16
People in Japan hoping to predict the next big earthquake should ignore mysterious deep-sea fish after experts said rare sightings of the creatures on the country's beaches did not, as some had believed, foretell a seismic calamity. (theguardian.com)
Aug 15
With Severe Tropical Storm Krosa approaching western Japan, evacuation instructions had been issued to five people in three households in Wakayama Prefecture as of 4 a.m. Thursday. The instruction urges immediate evacuation. (NHK)