A 39-year-old Japanese man sentenced to death for killing seven people on the streets of Akihabara, Tokyo’s electronics district in June 2008, was executed on Tuesday July 26, the Japanese justice ministry announced.
25 years old at the time, Tomohiro Kato drove a two-ton truck into passers-by in broad daylight before getting out of the car and stabbing people in the crowd with a double-edged blade, killing seven people and ten the injured.
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He told the police that he “tired of living“and that he came”to kill anyone“. Tomohiro Kato’s work is the result of “elaborate preparationsand the convict appeared”deliberate intent to killJustice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said at a press conference on Tuesday in Tokyo. “The death penalty was confirmed by adequate deliberations during the trials. Based on this, I approve the execution after careful consideration“, he added. “It was a very painful case that led to serious consequences and shocked society“, added Yoshihisa Furukawa.
The death sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeal in September 2012 after the first instance verdict in March 2011, and Japan’s Supreme Court rejected Tomohiro Kato’s appeal in 2015, making the sentence final. The son of a banker, Tomohiro Kato grew up in Aomori, studied at the best high school in this department in northeastern Japan, then opted for a professional course to work in the automobile industry. At the time of the events, he was a temporary worker at an auto parts factory in a small city in central Japan, and knew before the massacre that his contract would expire at the end of June 2008. Lived by his boss, he also loses his apartment and relies on the internet for fear of becoming homeless. Before acting, he sent several messages on an internet forum, via his mobile phone, describing his intentions in detail. “I will kill the people of Akihabara. I will drive my car into the crowd and if it becomes useless I will use a knife. Goodbye everyone“, he wrote a few hours before the attack.
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During a hearing, Tomohiro Kato also explained that he committed this crime because of the criticism he became the subject of on the internet. Prosecutors said Tomohiro Kato’s self-esteem also suffered when a woman he had been chatting with online stopped writing to him, after he sent her a photo of himself. After his arrest at the scene of the attack, Tomohiro Kato wrote to a 56-year-old taxi driver who was injured in the attack to express his regret, and also issued an apology during his trial. After this crime, which occurred seven years to the day after the massacre committed by a man armed with a knife at an elementary school in Osaka (west), the Japanese authorities banned the possession of both bladed dagger whose blade exceeds 5.5. centimeters.
The execution of Tomohiro Kato was the first application of the death penalty in Japan since December, when three people sentenced to death for murder were executed by hanging on the same day. Japan, along with the United States, is one of the last industrialized and democratic countries to still resort to the death penalty, a punishment widely supported by Japanese public opinion. The Japanese government thought it was “noinappropriateto abolish the death penalty, considering the fact that “Heinous crimes such as shootings and killings during armed robberies still occur frequently.“, said on Tuesday the Japanese Minister of Justice.