Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Death Penalty in Japan

Japan has executed three death row inmates convicted of murder - the country's first hangings in six months.

One killed two women; another used the internet to find victims considering suicide; the third was from China and killed three Chinese people.

The executions are the first under a new system that combines citizens and professional judges to together decide on serious criminal cases.

Japan's previous executions were carried out in January.

The latest convicts to be executed were Japanese nationals Hiroshi Maeue, 40, and Yukio Yamaji, 25, and 41-year-old Chinese national Chen Detong.

Maeue, executed in Osaka, killed three people in 2005 after he met them through an internet website for people planning to commit suicide.

Yamaji, also executed in Osaka, raped and then stabbed to death two sisters in 2005.

Chen was executed in Tokyo for killing three of his compatriots and injuring three more in Kawasaki, southwest of Tokyo, in 1999.

The death penalty receives widespread support in Japan, but the executions are regularly criticised by the European Union and anti-death penalty campaign groups.

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