Japan carries out death sentence on spree killer who caused death of seven people in 2008
A man who killed seven people in a rampage in the capital Tokyo in 2008 has been executed in Japan. Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa confirmed the first execution in the country this year. He said he had approved the execution of the death sentence after “extremely careful consideration.”
Tomohiro Kato, who has now been executed, had crashed a truck into a crowd of people in the Akihabara district on June 8, 2008. Then the then 25-year-old stabbed passers-by indiscriminately. He killed seven people and injured ten others before being arrested. He told police after his arrest, “I came to Akihabara to kill people. It didn’t matter who I would kill.”
He had previously announced his actions on the Internet, complaining about his loneliness and unstable job. In court, he apologized for the crime. Kato was sentenced to death in 2011, and the country’s Supreme Court upheld the sentence in 2015.
Japan is one of the few industrialized nations that still retains the death penalty. Its abolition is “not appropriate,” Justice Minister Furukawa affirmed. “Horrific crimes such as mass killings and robbery-murders still occur regularly,” he explained.
After a two-year hiatus, three convicted murderers had been hanged in December. These were the first executions in the term of head of government Fumio Kishida.
Executions in Japan are carried out by hanging, usually many years after the conviction – and sometimes only a few hours after the inmates have been informed of the impending execution.
There are currently more than 100 prisoners on death row in Japan. Human rights groups repeatedly criticize Japan’s adherence to the death penalty. Among the population, however, there is broad support for the death penalty.