Japan carries out four death sentences

January 29th, 2009 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, Jan 29 (DPA) Japan Thursday executed four convicted murderers, the Justice Ministry said, a decision expected to draw renewed protests from groups opposed to the death penalty.Japan is one of the few industrialized countries to carry out the death penalty. The world’s second-largest economy faces regular international condemnation from human rights organizations like Amnesty International over prison conditions and its continued adherence to capital punishment.

Relatives are informed of executions only after the act, and prisoners on death row are told of their upcoming death only on the morning of their execution, hours before their hanging.

In 2008, the country executed 15 prisoners, a sharp increase from 2007, when nine prisoners were hanged, the usual method of execution in Japan.

Justice Minister Eisuke Mori announced the executions after they were carried out Thursday, saying, “These are cruel cases where (the convicted criminals) selfishly took away human dignity and lives.”

One of the four executed, Tadashi Makino, 58, was convicted for stabbing a woman to death at her home while he was on probation for a murder-robbery.

Yukinari Kawamura, 44, and Tetsuya Nomura, 39, were hanged for burning two women to death in oil barrels after robbing and kidnapping them.

Shojiro Nishimoto, 32, robbed and killed three people.

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