Japan Carries Out First Executions Under new PM

Japan hanged three death row inmates on Tuesday, its first executions in two years and first under the administration of Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who took office in October.

The first one was identified as Yasutaka Fujishiro, 65, who used a hammer and knife to kill his 80-year-old aunt, two cousins, and four others in 2004.

The other two were 54-year-old Tomoaki Takanezawa, who killed two clerks at an arcade game parlor in 2003, and his accomplice Mitsunori Onogawa, 44.

“It is not appropriate to abolish the country’s death penalty system considering the current situation in which heinous crimes continue to occur,” Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiji Kihara said after the executions.

“Many Japanese think the death penalty is unavoidable in the case of extremely malicious crimes,” Kihara added.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa, who ordered the executions, said that he gave the order “after giving careful considerations again and again.”

After Tuesday’s executions, the number of inmates sitting on death row in Japan stands at 107.

Japan and the United States are the only members of the G7 that still have the death penalty.

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