crime

3 death row inmates executed

37 Comments

Japan executed three death row inmates Tuesday, Justice Minister Eisuke Mori announced, conducting its first hangings in six months and the first since the lay judge system was launched in May.

It was the third round of hangings under Mori, bringing the total executed under him to nine. The previous hangings took place Jan 29.

The three executed Tuesday are Yukio Yamaji, 25, who was convicted of killing two sisters in Osaka in 2005, Chen Detong, a 41-year-old Chinese national who killed three Chinese in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in 1999, and Hiroshi Maeue, 40, who killed three people he met through a website for people planning to commit suicide in 2005, according to ministry officials.

The executions brought the total number of death row inmates to 101, of whom 63 are seeking retrials. The three executed Tuesday are assumed not to have been asking for new trials as it is believed that would normally preclude them from being put on the execution list.

The executions of the three were all carried out in two to three years after their death sentences were finalized, indicating a trend of shortening the waiting period.

''I did not consider the pace of executions (when making the decision),'' Mori said during a press conference.

Executions had been carried out at a pace of one every two to three months under Kunio Hatoyama, who assumed the post of justice minister in 2007. The minister is responsible for signing execution orders.

But they have become less frequent under Mori, who has voiced doubts over a Cabinet Office survey in 2004 that showed over 80 percent of Japanese people supported the death penalty.

He has also welcomed public debate over the death penalty as a result of the introduction of the lay judge system, under which citizens and professional judges must together judge serious criminal cases and decide on penalties including death.

The latest executions brought mixed reactions from people involved in the cases.

''I feel better now,'' said Kazuo Uehara, 60, whose two daughters -- Asuka, 27, and Chihiro, 19 -- were murdered by Yamaji in their apartment.

Shingo Uchiyama, who served as Yamaji's lawyer in an earlier case in which he killed his mother when he was a teen, expressed regret at the execution, saying, ''To a certain degree, I had expected this. But I wanted to hear his true feelings, even just a single word. I wanted to tell him that I want him to live.''

Yamaji had said ''I was not supposed to be born'' in a letter addressed to his lawyer, and withdrew his appeal against his death sentence given in 2006. He said he wanted to be executed within six months after his death sentence was finalized in May 2007.

Chen, who killed three compatriots and seriously injured two others by stabbing them in revenge for an assault on him, had told Forum 90, a civic group opposed to the death penalty, in response to a survey that he would do anything to make up for what he did.

''Whatever the bereaved families want me to do, I will do. If they want my life, I will give it to them,'' he wrote, but he also said he did not think he would get the death sentence and mentioned his hope to return to his country.

Maeue, who killed three people including a 14-year-old boy by suffocating them for sexual satisfaction, said in response to the survey that ''I have many things I think about the death penalty system,'' but did not elaborate.

© Wire reports

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

37 Comments
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3 at a time.

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I hope none of those inmates was convicted because false allegation, there's no way to undo it.

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Was the dna and other evidence retested?? Im a believer in the death penalty if there is absolutly no doubt, but in japan....

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At 25? What a sad way to kiss the world goodbye.

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Anyone know the DPJ stance on execution?

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Anyone know the DPJ stance on execution?

They're never gonna scrap the death penalty, it's got far too much public support here.

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Hey, this is Asia. The death penalty is here to stay.

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It says in the DJP manifest that they'll review the death penalty and pay heed to public opinion, bearing in mind the fact that the only 'developed' countries in the world that still have the DP are Japan and America, and that all other civilised nations have done away with it. They also propose the introduction of a life sentence that means life; one of the major objections to the abolition of the DP has been the lack of custodial sentences with any real bite.

Up until now there has been strong public support for the DP, mainly because they teach in schools that it's the Only Thing You Can Do With Evil People; but high-profile cases like the recent false conviction in the Tochigi murder case, and the introduction of the lay judge system, where members of the public are going to find themselves asked to pass judgement in potential DP cases, make it very possible that there'll be a change in public opinion in the near future.

'Bout time too.

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™if there is absolutely no doubt™ Unfortunately in Japan, there is ALWAYS doubt.

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Thanks, Cleo. And I agree. A survey of public opinion today would probably already show a significant drop in support over this time last year, just based on the Tochigi case.

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I wonder if any of the killed were forced to confess.

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The really cruel thing about the way the DP is carried out here is that the condemned is never given a date. They are never told that the order for their execution has been signed. These guys would never have known that today would be their last. The guards just show up for you and haul you off to the gallows. By the time you realise what is going on you`re standing on the trapdoor.

There`s no justification for that.

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bcbrownboy> what makes Japan so special? To me there is doubt anywhere.

Also, this is hopeful: "The executions are the first under a new system that combines citizens and professional judges to together decide on serious criminal cases."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8171699.stm

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Good job. well done.

Don't blame me. I am pro death sentence.

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what? don't blame you for your opinion?..why? did someone force you to have it?

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I'm with toecutter on this one. If the Japanese system is that you must show remorse, regret an importantly understanding of what you have done, then surely a date when execution will take place willl help focus the mind. If I am not wrong I understand that some people have been on death row for many years - 20 plus - before waking up one morning and being dragged to the gallows and hung. And the family is not told. No time for goodbyes or the guy in question to come to terms with what he has done or what is to happen to him (or her I guess). It would seem to me that once one knew their fate that a true understanding of what they had done would bring greater remorse. And if nothing else a murderer might go to his deeath accepting the pain he had caused and expressing true remose.

Tell me I am to be hung in 3 weeks time or six months time I can not only prepare myself but really consider the reasons I am on the way out. If emminent death does not focus the mind what does?

Living every day not knowing whether you will be swinging or not is a punishment beyond reason. Do the fsamilies victims get relief from this? If they believe the death penalty will give them closure then surely they want it administered quickly.

It is like a slow mental torture. Like killing a mad dog by cutting off one leg a year. If the dog is mad, put it down.

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No matter what these people did, the taking of human life is murder. These were acts of barbarism carried out in Japan. The only two "civilised" countries in the world where these kind of executions take place are the USA and Japan. So, Japan and the USA are in the same league as North Korea, Iran, and other despotic, undemocratic nations that use torture and this form of Capital Punishment. A nasty "club" indeed.

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Times like this that show Japan is a cutting edge modern country.

If only we had such a good justice system in the UK we wouldnt have so much crime.

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Realist: "So, Japan and the USA are in the same league as North Korea, Iran, and other despotic, undemocratic nations that use torture and this form of Capital Punishment. A nasty "club" indeed."

Realist, you seem to be out of touch with reality.

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The only valid purpose for the death penalty is that it assures that a criminal won't be let out to torment the public again. But given the likelyhood of false accusations, forced confessions and other human foibles entrenched in the system a penalty of life without parole is preferable.

You really can't compare Japan with NK though. NK will execute a whole family if one member commits a crime. Last week a woman was executed for handing out Bibles, of all things.

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The vast majority of Japanese people support the death penalty. Until that changes, get used to it. As combini bento said, this is Asia. It sure as hell ain't Canada, where I come from.

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"Maeue, who killed three people, including a 14-year-old boy by suffocating them for sexual satisfaction"

Maeue definitely wasn't your average meat-and-potatoes man.

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Mauue... So who thinks that sorry b*stard shouldn't take a long drop on a short rope?

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Murder is done for either unjust reasons, or in a manner contrary to moral law.

Justice demands blood for blood, and these people took life.

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It is great to see that Japan is standing up for justice.

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One reason that human civilisation can be considered to have "improved" over the past few thousand years is that we don't always kill a person who has killed others. I feel that those who support the death penalty really have a simple view of the world and can't really handle considering other options. It will, however, be hard to abolish the death penalty in Japan because there is a long history of vengeance here. But, at the end of the day, the death penalty really is an easy way out. I've said it before and I'll say it again, "Just try and stay at home for 48 or even 72 hours and see how bored you get". That's at home with a fridge, computer, TV, private bathroom and comfortable bed. Just imagine what a week would be like...and then a month... and then a year and so on. That really is punishment in my book.

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USARonin to Realist:

"So, Japan and the USA are in the same league as North Korea, Iran, and other despotic, undemocratic nations that use torture and this form of Capital Punishment. A nasty "club" indeed."

To describe the USA and Japan as undemocratic and despotic does have some truth to it. Look at Diebold vote counting machines in the US and the hereditary seats in the Diet in Japan. Both undemocratic and despotic. The projection of that power to poor countries, bringing the Death Penalty to millions of innocents by wars built on lies would seem to fit well. The DPRK has only one difference, no power to project. As for Iran, you'll have to stop reading the US mainstream media. If they were really concerned about democracy they'd report on Honduras, about which there has been virtual silence.

So, USARonin, I agree with your assessment: "So, Japan and the USA are in the same league as North Korea, Israel and other despotic, undemocratic nations that use torture (Bagram, Abu Graibh, Gitmo) and this form of Capital Punishment in 38 or so states in the Union. A nasty "club" indeed." Nice to see you step up to the plate and call a spade a spade. Took guts, that.

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I would accept Maeue being executed as a necessary evil. Who knows what he would do if he ever got out.

I disagree with the statement that Japan and the US are in the same league as NK and Iran. There is due process in the US and Japan. Due process is subject to human foibles, of course. But at least it's in use. Can't say the same for NK and Iran. They just pretty much murder whomever they choose for why ever they come up with.

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I supposed questions were asked why this Yamaji guy who killed his mother when a teen was, just a few years later, out-and-about and totally unsupervised in society. Surely anyone capable of killing his or her mother when a teen, should be under constant surveillance for at least 20 years.

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Always a good day when some monsters enjoy a short drop. Today, the world is a little better place then it was yesterday.

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Why is Japan special? Forced confessions are de rigeur here.

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A horrific practice stuck in the dark ages of humanity. To all those who support this hypocritical system - I ask you to show the strength to sleep well at night after you have pressed the button to end anothers life.

I welcome the example set by Governor Bill Richardson and the State of New Mexico in abolishing the death penalty.

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DentShop, i used to think the same way.... until i had a kid. I would have gladly pulled the trapdoor lever on that oxygen thief Yamaji. Why don`t you lecture the father of the two women he murdered, eh?

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A horrific practice stuck in the dark ages of humanity. To all those who support this hypocritical system - I ask you to show the strength to sleep well at night after you have pressed the button to end anothers life.

I sleep very soundly knowing there are 3 less murderers alive today then there were yesterday. Very soundly indeed. Maybe if you had known someone who was murdered, you wouldn't be so against the death penalty. A friend of mine's young cousin was kidnapped, raped, and murdered a few years ago. Let me tell you, I have no problem at all with the monsters being executed. I do however have a huge problem with killers being allowed to live, while their victims are not.

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Japan has the death penalty...full stop. Commit the crime and cop the punishment. As for not knowing when the date is.....did the people they murdered know when their date was???????????

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Thank god(s) for the lovely death penalty! I feel son happy to know these 3 scum bags will never, ever get out on the streets of Japan and do something horrible. We need the death penalty to help bad people understand, that if they do bad things they will be hung sooner or later. Thanks Mr.Justice Minister Eisuke Mori!

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How sad.

Anyway, as a teacher, I like to predict which students will end up in the electric chair, which will be sent to prison for a stretch and so on. It would be nice to have information on what these people were like as youths.

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