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Japan executes man over 2008 stabbing rampage

TOKYO: Japan on Tuesday (Jul 26) executed a person convicted of killing seven folks in a truck ramming and stabbing rampage in Tokyo’s widespread Akihabara electronics district in 2008, the justice ministry mentioned.

Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa mentioned Tomohiro Kato had undertaken “meticulous preparation” for the assault and displayed a “robust intent to kill”.

“The demise sentence on this case was finalised via enough deliberation in courtroom,” he instructed reporters.

“Based mostly on this reality, I authorised the execution after extraordinarily thorough scrutiny.”

Kato went on the stabbing spree on Jun 8, 2008, telling police: “I got here to Akihabara to kill folks. It did not matter who I would kill.”

He was arrested on the spot shortly after the assaults, during which he rammed a rented two-tonne truck right into a crowd of pedestrians earlier than getting out and randomly stabbing folks.

“This can be a very painful case that led to extraordinarily grave penalties and shocked society,” Furukawa mentioned Tuesday.

Police mentioned Kato documented his lethal journey to Akihabara on Web bulletin boards, typing messages on a cell phone from behind the wheel of the truck and complaining of his unstable job and his loneliness.

The son of a banker, Kato grew up in Aomori prefecture in Japan’s north, the place he graduated from a prime highschool. He failed his college entrance exams and ultimately skilled as an auto mechanic, studies mentioned.

Prosecutors mentioned that Kato’s self-confidence had plummeted after a lady he had chatted with on-line abruptly stopped emailing him after he despatched her {a photograph} of himself.

His anger towards most people grew when his feedback on an Web bulletin board, together with his plans to go on a killing spree, have been met with no response in any respect, prosecutors mentioned.


Whereas awaiting trial, Kato wrote to a 56-year-old taxi driver whom he injured within the stabbing spree, expressing his regret.

The victims “have been having fun with their lives, and so they had goals, brilliant futures, heat households, lovers, mates and colleagues”, Kato wrote in response to a duplicate printed within the Shukan Asahi weekly.

And in courtroom, he supplied regret for the assault.

“Please let me use this event to apologise,” he mentioned concerning the bloody rampage that additionally left 10 folks injured.

After the 2008 rampage, Japan banned possession of double-edged knives with blades longer than 5.5cm, punishable by as much as three years in jail or a 500,000 yen high-quality.

The assault was Japan’s worst mass killing in seven years and Kato was sentenced to demise in 2011, a choice that was upheld by Japan’s prime courtroom in 2015.

Kato’s execution is the primary in Japan this yr and comes after three prisoners have been hanged in December 2021. These executions ended a two-year hiatus and have been the primary below Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s administration.

Japan is among the few developed international locations to retain the demise penalty, and public help for capital punishment stays excessive regardless of worldwide criticism.

Executions are carried out by hanging, usually lengthy after sentencing. Greater than 100 persons are at present on demise row in Japan.

Worldwide advocacy teams have denounced the Japanese system, below which demise row inmates can wait for his or her executions for a few years in solitary confinement and are solely instructed of their impending demise a number of hours forward of time.

However Furukawa defended the demise penalty on Tuesday.

The federal government believes it’s “not applicable” to abolish capital punishment, given “heinous crimes resembling mass killings and robbery-murders nonetheless repeatedly happen”, he instructed reporters.

Tuesday’s execution comes on the anniversary of one other main stabbing assault – the 2016 Sagamihara rampage at a disabled care facility, during which 19 folks have been killed.

Japan additionally carried out the executions of six members of the Aum Shinrikyo cult accountable for the 1995 sarin assault and different crimes on Jul 26, 2018.

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