December 26, 2019
Japan executed a Chinese national convicted in the brutal 2003 murder of a family of four, marking the government’s first execution of a foreigner in a decade.
Japan hangs Chinese national convicted of 2003 murder, marking first execution of a foreigner in 10 years
Wei Wei, a 40-year-old former language student, was hanged Thursday after he and two other Chinese accomplices were convicted of killing Japanese businessman Shinjiro Matsumoto, his wife and two children 16 years ago, the BBC reported.
The men broke into the home of Matsumoto in Fukuoka, almost 700 miles west of Tokyo, and strangled him and his two children, 8 and 11 years old, before drowning his wife in the bath. The three suspects then weighted the bodies and dumped them into the ocean.
Justice Minister Masako Mori said at a news conference Thursday that she signed the execution order after careful examination, taking into consideration the international anti-execution movement. She said Japan was a law-abiding country and the execution was based on its criminal justice system.
“It was an extremely cold-blooded and cruel case, in which (Wei) killed four innocent members of a happy family,” she said.
Japan has maintained the death penalty despite growing international criticism.
Executions are carried out in high secrecy where prisoners are not informed of their fate until the morning they are hanged. The last foreigner executed in Japan was another Chinese national in 2009, who was convicted of killing three people he was living with in Tokyo, the BBC reported.
Japan now has 112 people on death row, including 84 seeking retrials, according to the justice ministry.
Wei's two accomplices were tried in China, where one was sentenced to death and the other was given life imprisonment, according to Japan's Kyodo News agency.
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