EsquireDaily
News World

Japan Executes Man Who Killed Seven on Busy Tokyo Street

TOKYO—Japan has executed a man convicted of killing seven people in 2008 when he rammed a truck into a Tokyo crowd and went on a stabbing spree with a dagger.

It was the first time Japan carried out the death penalty this year.

The attack took place on June 8, 2008, in Akihabara, Tokyo’s popular shopping area for electronics and subculture goods. Tomohiro Kato, then 25, rented a truck and plowed into a Sunday crowd a week after the factory where he worked announced a downsizing plan. Then he got out of the truck and randomly stabbed bystanders.

blank

An undated picture of Tomohiro Kato.

Photo: jiji press/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said he ordered the execution. He cited government opinion polls in 2014 and 2019 that found about 80% of respondents said the death penalty was warranted in some cases.

“Considering the situation in which brutal crimes are never ceasing, it is necessary to impose the death penalty on those who committed extremely serious and brutal crimes,” Mr. Furukawa said.

Japan carries out executions by hanging.

The execution was the first in Japan since December 2021, when three convicts were executed.

Japan carries out the death penalty a few times a year on average. One outlier was 2018, when 13 people connected to the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult were executed. The total number of executions that year was 15. The cult masterminded the deadly 1995 nerve-gas attack on the Tokyo subway system.

The death penalty occasionally draws controversy in Asia, especially in countries where it is used for crimes other than murder. In April, a Malaysian man convicted of drug trafficking more than a decade ago was executed in Singapore despite criticism from human-rights advocates who had called for clemency on the grounds that he was mentally disabled.

The Japan branch of Amnesty International, a human-rights group that opposes the death penalty, said about 70% of countries have barred the death penalty or de facto stopped using it. “Japan is turning its back on this trend and increasingly isolating itself,” the group said.

blank

Victims’s shoes on a street in Akihabara after the 2008 attack.

Photo: Itsuo Inouye/Associated Press

Write to Chieko Tsuneoka at chieko.Tsuneoka@dowjones.com

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Related posts

British Pound, Bonds Roiled as Tax-Cut Plans Spook Investors

David Appleton

Japan's Asteroid Odyssey: 3 Billion Miles for a Pinch of Dust

David Appleton

Several People Killed in Shooting at Copenhagen Mall

David Appleton

Scenes from a Pandemic Holiday Road Trip

Ray Morrison

With Democrats in control, Supreme Court reform proposals reclaim center stage

Ray Morrison

Ukraine, Russia Exchange Prisoners as War Grinds On

David Appleton

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Privacy & Cookies Policy