A man convicted of murdering a woman in 2007 in Nagoya was executed on Thursday morning, Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said.
It was the first execution that Kamikawa has signed off on since becoming justice minister and the 12th since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December 2012.
Tsukasa Kanda, 44, was convicted along with accomplices Yoshimoto Hori and Yuichiro Hondo of killing 31-year-old Rie Isogai on Aug 24, 2007, in Aichi Prefecture. The men, who met on a website set up to bring "crime-minded" people together, were convicted of abducting Isogai with the intention of robbing her. They then killed her to prevent her from testifying against them.
Kanda and Hori were sentenced to death. Kawagishi received a life prison term in return for having turned himself in and providing evidence that aided the police investigation. Hori's death sentence was commuted to life in prison, following an appeal.
The case took an unusual turn when Isogai's mother drew up a petition for the death penalty for Hori, that was signed by 100,000 citizens within 10 days. She presented the petition with some 150,000 names to the District Public Prosecutor's Office of Nagoya. The number increased to 318,000 by December 2008. However, the Supreme Court rejected the request.© Japan Today