JAPAN. DEATH SENTENCE UPHELD FOR 71 YEAR OLD
March 29, 2006: the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence handed down to Kazutoshi Takahashi, a 71-year-old man, for a 1998 double-murder in Yokohama.
Takahashi was convicted of beating to death Jingen Yun, 65, and his common-law wife, Hatsuko Kobayashi, 60, with a crowbar or other blunt object at their money-lending and real estate office in Yokohama's Tsurumi Ward on June 20, 1988, and stealing 12 million yen from the office.
The top court dismissed the appeal from the defendant, who admitted stealing the money but denied killing the couple, from whom he had borrowed money. He claimed they were already dead when he arrived at their office.
The defense had said Takahashi, who used to run an electrical engineering business, had been forced by investigators to confess.
The Yokohama District Court sentenced Takahashi to death in September 1995, determining his guilt based on circumstantial evidence. There was no material evidence.
The Tokyo High Court upheld the sentence and dismissed his appeal in October 2002. (Sources: The Japan Times, 29/03/2006)