Three convicted multiple murderers have been hung in jails in various locations throughout Japan today. These are the country's first executions to be carried out in almost two years, by one of the leading developed nations in the world.
Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa speaking at a news conference authorized the executions of the three men and confirmed Japan's stance on capital punishment.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) JAPANESE JUSTICE MINISTER TOSHIO OGAWA SAYING:
"We have carried out the execution of three inmates today."
"The death penalty is currently supported by the Japanese people. Additionally, it is supported through people's participation in jury trials. As such, I will continue to do my legal duty as justice minister."
Japan and the United States are the only countries in the Group of Eight leading economies to carry out the death penalty. Both have been the target of strong criticism by Amnesty and other human rights groups.