Japan hangs 2 inmates, 4th round of executions under Abe gov't
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Japan hanged two death row inmates Thursday in the fourth round of executions since the launch last December of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said Thursday.
The hangings, ordered by Tanigaki, brought the total number of inmates executed under the Abe administration to eight.
They suggest the government plans to conduct executions every few months. Prior to the latest executions, three inmates were hanged in February, two in April and one in September.
Japan now has 129 inmates with finalized death sentences.
Executed were Mitsuo Fujishima, 55, convicted of two murders in Yamanashi and Niigata prefectures in 1986, and Ryoji Kagayama, 63, convicted of two murders in Osaka in 2000 and 2008.
"The executions were carried out after carefully weighing (their cases)," Tanigaki said at a press conference following the hangings, describing the murders committed by the two as "brutal" and conducted "out of selfishness."
Fujishima drowned his former wife's aunt, 73, in March 1986 in Yamanashi after she tried to prevent him from meeting his former wife. He also hid his victim's body. In the same month, he also killed his former wife's 26-year-old boyfriend, also by drowning, at a Niigata hotel.
His death sentence was finalized in June 1995.
Kagayama had his sentence finalized in August 2012, just over a year ago.
In July 2000, he fatally stabbed a 24-year-old female Chinese student with a knife on an Osaka street and stole her bag, while in the same city in February 2008, he stabbed to death a 30-year-old man from Kobe in the restroom of a commercial facility after the victim rejected his demand for money.
Tanigaki has said that the public supports capital punishment and that there is no need to review the system.
Human rights group Amnesty International Japan criticized the latest executions, also blasting the government for not disclosing its criteria in deciding the number and timing of executions.
"The fast pace at which the Abe administration is conducting executions goes directly against the international community's repeated calls to abolish capital punishment," the group said in a statement.
December 12, 2013(Mainichi Japan)