Japan executes man over 2008 stabbing rampage | Death Penalty News

Tomohiro Kato was convicted of killing seven individuals in an assault on Tokyo’s common Akihabara district.

Japan has executed a person convicted of killing seven individuals in a stabbing rampage in Tokyo’s common Akihabara electronics district in 2008.

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

“The loss of life sentence on this case was finalised by way of adequate deliberation in court docket,” he informed reporters.

“Primarily based on this reality, I authorized the execution after extraordinarily thorough scrutiny.”

The June 2008 attack, which additionally injured 10 individuals, started with Kato driving a truck right into a crowd. After stabbing a number of individuals, the then 25-year-old was arrested on the scene, telling police: “I got here to Akihabara to kill individuals. It didn’t matter who I’d kill.”

Police stated he documented his 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 loneliness.

Japan’s high court docket confirmed Kato’s loss of life sentence in 2015, saying there was “no grounds for leniency”. The assault was the nation’s worst mass killing in seven years.

Police arrest Tomohiro Kato, who is wearing a beige suit and glasses, on a street in Akhibara after he killed seven people in Tokyo.
Tomohiro Kato was arrested on the scene. He drove a truck into pedestrians earlier than occurring a stabbing spree [File: Jiji Press via AFP]

The son of a banker, Kato grew up in Aomori prefecture in Japan’s north, the place he graduated from a high highschool. He failed his college entrance exams and finally educated as a automobile mechanic, experiences stated.

Prosecutors stated 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 in opposition to most of the people grew when his on-line feedback, together with his plans for a killing spree, drew no response, prosecutors stated.

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, shiny futures, heat households, lovers, pals and colleagues,” Kato wrote based on a duplicate printed within the Shukan Asahi weekly.

Kato’s execution is the primary in Japan this 12 months and comes after three prisoners were hanged in December 2021. These have been the primary executions within the nation in two years.

The usage of the loss of life penalty in Japan is shrouded in secrecy. These on loss of life row may solely discover out the sentence shall be carried out just a few hours earlier than or generally by no means, whereas their households are often solely notified afterwards, based on Amnesty Worldwide.

Amnesty, which is against the loss of life penalty in all instances, says the final pattern all over the world stays in direction of the abolition of capital punishment.

Japan ruling bloc sweeps upper house election after Abe’s killing | Elections News

Large wins for LDP and coalition companion will revive the trouble to amend Japan’s pacifist structure, a long-held objective of Shinzo Abe.

Japan’s governing social gathering and its coalition companion have scored a sweeping victory in an higher home election held within the wake of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination.

The Liberal Democratic Celebration (LDP) gained 63 seats, or greater than half of the 125 seats up for grabs, native media reported on Monday.

LDP’s coalition companion Komeito gained 13 seats.

Their victory in Sunday’s vote means political forces supportive of revising Japan’s pacifist structure – a long-held ambition of Abe – retain a two-third majority within the 248-member higher chamber.

The Kyodo information company said the pro-constitutional modification camp, which along with the LDP-Komeito coalition, contains the opposition Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Innovation Celebration) and the Democratic Celebration for the Folks, now has 179 seats.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, an Abe protege, mentioned late on Sunday that he would push forward with plans to amend the structure, which was imposed on Japan by the US after World Battle II.

The constitution, handed in 1947, renounces “conflict as a sovereign proper of the nation”, and Abe had lengthy sought to amend that provision, pointing to what he referred to as a “extreme” safety surroundings, together with China’s rising affect and North Korea’s nuclear and missiles programme.

Kishida mentioned the ruling coalition “will deepen parliamentary debate over the structure additional so a concrete modification proposal will be compiled”.

However he mentioned addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rising costs could be his priorities.

He additionally praised Japan for holding the elections, two days after Abe was shot.

“The election, which is the muse of democracy, was challenged by violence. It was extraordinarily significant that we carried out the election. I’ll proceed to work exhausting to guard democracy,” he mentioned.

Abe, Japan’s longest-serving prime minister and a dominant pressure within the LDP, was shot with a home made gun on Friday whereas he was delivering a marketing campaign speech within the western metropolis of Nara. The killing shocked a rustic the place violence is uncommon.

Kishida could transfer cautiously on constitutional change, however the obvious victory appeared set to pave the best way for extra defence spending, a key LDP election promise, mentioned Robert Ward of the Worldwide Institute of Strategic Research. Kishida “now has a inexperienced gentle for this”, Ward informed the Reuters information company.

Whereas the LDP had its greatest election final result since 2013, Kyodo mentioned the principle opposition social gathering, the Constitutional Democratic Celebration of Japan, misplaced six of the seats it held earlier than Sunday’s vote. It now has 17 seats within the higher home.

Kenta Izumi, the CDP chief, informed social gathering leaders late on Sunday that he took the end result as voters “not wanting to change from the LDP and entrust us with operating the federal government”.

He mentioned he wouldn’t give up as social gathering chief.

A report variety of girls additionally gained seats in Sunday’s election, with some 35 of the 181 feminine candidates who contested the ballot being elected to the higher home.

“The consequence displays a gradual however gradual change within the nation’s male-dominated political panorama,” mentioned Kyodo.

‘Like time had stopped’: Japan grapples with Shinzo Abe’s loss | News

Tokyo, Japan – The fatal shooting of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe within the western prefecture of Nara has despatched shockwaves by means of Japan, a rustic the place firearms are extremely regulated and gun violence is uncommon.

Abe’s physique was returned to Tokyo on Saturday as dozens of journalists gathered exterior his Tomigaya residence within the capital whereas joggers and other people strolling their canine handed by.

Fewer than 10 law enforcement officials have been on the bottom earlier than 8am exterior the residence, however a number of streets again, a considerably heightened police presence was seen. Al Jazeera counted not less than two dozen unmarked and marked vehicles, whereas officers prowled the realm.

Abe, 67, remained an essential determine in Japan’s political sphere, wielding vital affect within the governing Liberal Democratic Get together (LDP) celebration till his dying.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, sometimes called Abe’s protege, stated he’s in a state of disbelief. “I’m merely speechless over the information of Abe’s dying,” he informed reporters.

‘Like time had stopped’

Tomigaya, the place Abe lived, together with throughout the interval he served as prime minister, is a leafy, central neighbourhood – dwelling to embassies and common cafes and eating places.

Shota Tanamachi, a barista at Espresso Supreme, a restaurant visited by Abe, was shocked by the assassination. Abe was somebody he noticed across the neighbourhood.

“Yesterday, it was terrible,” Tanamachi informed Al Jazeera. He stated he tried to keep away from trying on the photos of the capturing which dominated the entrance pages of Japanese newspapers on Saturday morning.

Surprised residents in Japan have been glued to their telephones as NHK, the nation’s public broadcaster, performed footage of the capturing on loop and particulars in regards to the shooter have been slowly revealed throughout the day.

Tokyo-based broadcaster Chris Gilbert described a “surreal, heavy silence” because the information broke that Abe had died.

“When the information hit … it was like time had stopped. Everybody was standing and their telephones. I feel everybody was realising the identical factor on the similar time,” he stated.

From these keen on Abe got here an outpouring of grief. In Nara close to the practice station the place he was shot, residents laid flowers and tokens, prayed and took photographs.

Police patrol the major roads
Law enforcement officials patrol the streets round Abe’s dwelling in Tomigaya, Tokyo [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

In a press release, Rahm Emanuel, the US ambassador to Japan referred to as Abe “a world chief” who was “forward of his time”.

Ichiro Matsui, chief of the opposition Nippon Ishin (Japan Innovation Get together), informed media that whereas the 2 belonged to completely different events, they “agreed on the thought of creating Japan higher”.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, a former LDP member, expressed shock on the information. “It doesn’t matter what the explanation could also be, I merely can not tolerate this act of barbarism,” she stated.

Whereas Abe boasted of shut relationships with heads of state, he’s usually fondly remembered in popular culture for showing as Tremendous Mario on the 2016 Rio Olympics.

However in Japan, his picture is extra complicated.

A 20-year-old inventive enterprise proprietor who lives and works in Tomigaya and declined to provide his identify, described himself as “by no means” politically engaged, however recalled Abe as a “polarising determine” throughout his time as prime minister.

He discovered the weapon used probably the most shocking element. “What? Weapons in Japan?” he requested in response to Friday’s assassination.

Shinzo Abe’s street in Tomigaya
Shinzo Abe’s residence is on this avenue in Tomigaya, central Tokyo [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

“I don’t suppose it’s doable to have [a gun] in Japan,” he stated. “I’ve shot some weapons, I’ve seen some weapons, however in Tokyo, in Japan, by no means.”

Police have since confirmed the weapon that killed Abe was home made.

Mari Iwata, a media skilled in Tokyo, described Abe as “a villain”, however was surprised by the capturing, saying these against political leaders ought to use the vote, not violence.

One other Tomigaya resident stated whereas there have been random acts of violence in Japan, corresponding to mass stabbings, “it’s unusual to see [gun violence] right here”.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s like one thing you see in films, one thing that isn’t in Japan.”

Press await the arrival of Abe’s body
Reporters await the arrival of Abe’s physique at his dwelling in Tokyo’s Tomigaya neighbourhood [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

Election to go forward

In streets round Tomigaya, sun-faded marketing campaign posters stay dotted round. Officers say the elections will go forward as deliberate.

Director of the LDP Public Affairs Division Kono Taro tweeted he was “deeply shocked and saddened” by Abe’s passing, and referred to as serving in his cupboard an honour.

“The LDP is not going to be deterred by violence and can proceed our election marketing campaign to the tip,” he wrote.

Campaign posters
Marketing campaign posters line the streets round Abe’s dwelling in Tokyo [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]

Kishida labored carefully with Abe, and the previous prime minister’s insurance policies have served as one thing of a blueprint for the celebration.

Abe, who pushed to rewrite the nation’s pacifist structure, strongly backed Kishida’s push for constitutional reform amid shifting geopolitical dynamics and aggression from North Korea and China within the area.

If Kishida wins sufficient assist throughout Sunday’s higher home elections, he might grow to be the primary prime minister to alter the structure since its promulgation after the second world warfare.

Because the nation grapples with the shock and plenty of mourn the lack of Abe, the upcoming election outcomes could carry extra sharply into focus the consequences of the previous prime minister’s loss on the LDP.

Japanese newspapers on display
Japanese newspapers on show in a Tokyo retailer after Abe’s assassination [Jeremy Smart/Al Jazeera]