Tokyo, Aug. 2 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Justice Ministry executed two death-row inmates in serial murder cases on Friday, the first executions since December last year, according to the ministry.
It was the second time for executions to be carried out under Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita, who took office in October last year.
“I gave very careful consideration” before approving the executions, Yamashita told a press conference. “The assaults targeting multiple women were unforgivable. They were utterly barbaric.”
Yamashita said he signed execution orders for the two on Wednesday.
According to the ministry, the number of inmates on death row totaled 110 after Friday’s hanging.
On Friday, the ministry hanged Koichi Shoji, 64, and Yasunori Suzuki, 50.
According to the final ruling, in August 2001, Shoji conspired with a 56-year-old woman to kill a then-54-year-old acquaintance of hers by stabbing and other means in the city of Yamato, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, and robbed 230,000 yen in cash.
In September the same year, Shoji murdered another acquaintance, then 42, of the accomplice, by drowning her in a bathroom and took 60,000 yen after sexually assaulting her. The female accomplice was given an indefinite prison term.
Suzuki assaulted and strangled a then-18-year-old female vocational school student to death in December 2004 in the city of Iizuka in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan.
Suzuki also killed a then-62-year-old part-time female worker in the city of Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, in the same month and a then-23-year-old female corporate worker in the city of Fukuoka in January the following year, both by stabbing. Suzuki stole their bags.
In July last year, the ministry carried out the death sentences for Chizuo Matsumoto, also known as Shoko Asahara, the founder of Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo, and 12 other senior members of the group on death row.
In December, two death-row inmates, including a former senior member of an organized crime group, were hanged.