JAPAN HANGS THREE MEN FOR MURDERS
June 17, 2008: Japan hanged three men convicted of murder, the Justice Ministry said in a statement. The executions are a further sign that the country is speeding up the pace of executions. Tsutomu Miyazaki, 45, who kidnapped and murdered four young girls aged 4-7 years in the late 1980s, then cut up and burned their bodies, was hanged. Also executed were Yoshio Yamasaki, 73, who murdered two people for insurance money, and Shinji Mutsuda, 37, who killed two people and threw their bodies into the ocean in a box packed with concrete.
"The lives of the victims were taken in these extremely brutal cases that go beyond words," Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama said.
"To realise justice and to securely protect a nation where the law is respected, I am enforcing the death penalties."
Hatoyama is trying to reduce the number of prisoners on death row, after a previous justice minister refused to sign death warrants for religious reasons. (Sources: Reuters, 17/06/2008)