Baku, March 26, AZERTAC
Japan hanged two death-row inmates, bringing the total number of people executed since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power in December 2012 to 16, the Justice Ministry said, according to Kyodo.
The inmates were named as Yasutoshi Kamata, 75, who was convicted of murdering a 9-year-old girl in Osaka and four women between 1985 and 1994, and Junko Yoshida, a 56-year-old former nurse who masterminded two murders for insurance money in 1998 and 1999 in Fukuoka Prefecture.
Kamata had complained about Japan's death penalty in the past, saying in written answers to a civic group in 2008 that he believes the system is a "clear act of murder."
He also said, "No matter how much defendants argue at court that what they told the police or prosecutors was not the truth, judges won't listen." In 2012, he said in response to another survey that he wanted to be notified five days in advance before his execution was carried out.
With the executions of Kamata and Yoshida, the number of inmates under sentence of death stands at 124 in Japan.
The number has remained at no less than 100 in recent years, with some remaining on death row for prolonged periods, including those dying before the sentence is carried out.
Between 2005 and 2014, it took an average of five years and five months for a death-row inmate to be executed after his or her punishment was finalized, according to the Justice Ministry.
The death penalties of Kamata and Yoshida were finalized in July 2005 and April 2010, respectively.
The country's previous execution took place in December last year and involved for the first time an inmate tried by a panel of professional and citizen judges. Japan introduced the lay judge trial system for murder and other serious crimes from 2009.