(ANSA) – TOKYO, JULY 26 – A 39-year-old Japanese man sentenced to death for killing seven people in June 2008 in the streets of Akihabara, the Tokyo electronics district, was executed. Local media, including the public broadcaster NHK, reported this today.
Tomohiro Kato had driven a truck into passersby in broad daylight, before getting out of the vehicle and stabbing random people in the crowd with a double-edged sword, killing seven and wounding ten. His death sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal in September 2012, after a first instance verdict in March 2011. Japan’s Supreme Court rejected Kato’s appeal in 2015, making the sentence final.
At the time a precarious worker at an auto parts manufacturing plant in a small town in central Japan, the man learned shortly before the massacre that his contract would expire in late June 2008.
Hosted by his employer, he confided on the internet that he feared becoming homeless. During an audition, Kato had also explained that he had committed the massacre due to the criticism he had been subjected to on the web.
After the massacre, Japanese authorities banned the possession of double-edged daggers with blades longer than 5.5 centimeters.
It is the first application of the death penalty in Japan since last December, when three people convicted of murder were executed by hanging. Japan is, together with the United States, one of the last industrialized and democratic countries to still use the death penalty, a condemnation widely supported by Japanese public opinion. (HANDLE).