Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Dateline: Japan

2 convicted murderers executed

Two convicted murderers were executed Wednesday morning at detention houses in Nagoya and Fukuoka, the Justice Ministry announced.

They are the second pair of death-row inmates to be executed since Mayumi Moriyama was appointed justice minister in the Koizumi Cabinet.

Two death-row convicts also were executed in December.

The convicts were Tatsuya Haruta, 36, who was convicted of the 1987 kidnapping and murder of a college student in Kumamoto Prefecture, and Yoshiteru Hamada, who murdered three members of his girlfriend's family in Gifu Prefecture.

In September 1987, Haruta tempted a 21-year-old college student and his girlfriend to a deserted area used as a dump for construction materials in Tamana, Kumamoto Prefecture.

He then beat the student to death using an empty bottle and a concrete block.

Haruta demanded 50 million yen in ransom from the boy's father and kept the girl confined in a series of hotels for 12 days.

Hamada, who was having problems with his girlfriend, broke into her parents' house in Sakahogicho, Gifu Prefecture, in June 1994.

He took her 61-year-old father, 59-year-old mother and 31-year-old younger sister hostage and later stabbed them to death with a kitchen knife.

Forty-three people have been hanged in the nation since 1993.