26 Jul, 2022 07:18
Japan executes mass murderer
Tomohiro Kato has been hanged for a 2008 truck-ramming and knife massacre in Tokyo that claimed the lives of seven people
FILE PHOTO. Rescue workers gather at the site where Tomohiro Kato went on a stabbing spree in Tokyo's Akihabara electronic shops street on June 8, 2008. © AFP / STR / JIJI PRESS
Japan has executed a man convicted of killing seven people and injuring ten others in a vehicle crash and stabbing rampage in Tokyo 14 years ago, Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa told reporters on Tuesday.
According to the minister, Tomohiro Kato, 39, was hanged at the Tokyo Detention Center. In June 2008, Kato drove a truck into a crowd of pedestrians in the Akihabara shopping district, taking the lives of three people and injuring two. He then stepped out of the vehicle and stabbed several bystanders with a dagger, killing four and wounding another eight.
Furukawa said that under the circumstances, the death penalty is justified. According to the official, Kato made careful preparations for his crime, “an atrocious act that led to extremely serious consequences and had a major impact on society.”
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After his arrest in 2008, Kato explained his actions to police, saying he was “tired of life.” “I came to Akihabara to kill people. It didn’t matter who I’d kill,” he said. He admitted guilt, also saying he was upset by online bullying.
Kato was sentenced to death in 2011 by the Tokyo District Court, with the judge saying the killer had failed to show "a shred of humanity". Kato’s appeal was dismissed by Japan’s Supreme Court in 2015.
Japan is one of the few developed countries to enforce the death penalty. Executions are carried out by hanging and are usually reserved for aggravated murders. In such cases, inmates usually spend years on death row, and are given only a few hours’ notice before being escorted to the gallows.
Public support for the death penalty remains high in Japan, with 80% supporting the measure, according to a government poll conducted in November 2019.