08/03/2019, 09.59
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Tokyo, first two death sentences in 2019

Four executions under Takashi Yamashita's ministry.  The majority of Japanese seem to support the death penalty.  But the Federation of lawyers would like it to be eliminated by 2020.



Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita (see photo) said that two death sentences were carried out yesterday morning, the first in 2019. The two were killed by hanging.

The two executed are Koichi Shoji, 64, who killed two women in Kanagawa Prefecture in 2001, and Yasunori Suzuki, 50, who killed three women in Fukuoka Prefecture between 2004 and 2005.

Speaking to journalists, the minister said he had "ordered executions based on careful considerations", noting that the two "took the lives of victims who had done nothing, only for selfish reasons".

Soji and Suzuki had been sentenced to capital punishment permanently in 2007 and 2011 respectively.

Those of yesterday lead to four death sentences carried out under Yamashita, who became minister last October, and to 38 executions under the government of Shinzo Abe, in office since 2012.

The Land of the Rising Sun's use of capital punishment receives much criticism from abroad, but the majority of the Japanese seem to support it.  The Federation of Lawyers in Japan has long asked to abolish it by 2020. Last December, groups of parliamentarians discussed the future of capital punishment in the country, proposing to replace it with life imprisonment.

The Japanese Catholic Church has often deployed in public against the death penalty.

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