Sat, Apr 03, 2010 - Page 5 News List

Japan ‘regrets’ PRC plan to execute more Japanese

DRUG SMUGGLERSFollowing the scheduled hanging of Mitsunobu Akano on Monday, three more Japanese drug convicts will be executed

AFP , TOKYO

Japan’s foreign minister yesterday expressed regret to the Chinese ambassador over Beijing’s plans to execute three more convicted Japanese drug smugglers, an official said.

The executions would follow the scheduled hanging of Mitsunobu Akano, 65, on Monday in Beijing’s first use of the death penalty against a Japanese national since the two countries normalized ties in 1972.

Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada called in Chinese ambassador Cheng Yonghua (程永華) over the news and “there was an expression of regret” during the talks, said a foreign ministry official who declined to be named.

ARREST

Akano was arrested in September 2006 at an airport in the northeastern city of Dalian, reportedly attempting to smuggle 2.5kg of narcotics out of China, state media said.

He was sentenced to death in June 2008. Akano appealed but the sentence was upheld last year, the China Daily said.

The other three convicts are Teruo Takeda, 67, of Nagoya City, Hironori Ukai, 48, from Gifu Prefecture, and Katsuo Mori, 67, of Fukushima Prefecture, all of whom were sentenced to death in 2007, the Japanese foreign ministry said.

HOMICIDE

Japan itself employs the death penalty, usually in cases involving multiple homicides.

Rights group Amnesty International has called on Beijing to state publicly how many people it puts to death each year.

More people are executed in China than in the rest of the world put together, Amnesty said on Tuesday in an annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide.

Briton Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old father-of-three convicted of drugs smuggling, was executed by China last December. Supporters said he was mentally ill and London repeatedly urged Beijing to grant clemency.

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