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Japan hangs Akihabara killer

It is one of the most tragic milestones in Japanese history and, although the defendant’s sentence was signed in 2011, it was not final until 2015.

The Japanese Minister of Justice at the press conference for the execution of Tomohiro Kato

This Tuesday, Japan executed Tomohiro Kato, also known as the “Akihabara killer”, 14 years after he rammed into the Akihabara Electric Town shopping hub with a truck killing three in the act. He then went on a stabbing rampage, killing four more and leaving eight others injured.

The news was announced by the Japanese Ministry of Justice at a press conference by its highest representative: Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa. He has indicated that the execution was carried out in the Tokyo Detention Center.

Kato, 39 years old, was sentenced to hang in 2011, although the events that led to it occurred in June 2008, when around twelve noon he burst into the busy commercial area of Akihabara driving a truck. With it, he ran over five people, three of whom died. He then abandoned the vehicle and stabbed several bystanders, four of whom were killed.

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It is one of the most tragic events in the history of Japan

The event is one of the most tragic in Japanese history and has passed into the popular imagination as the “Akihabara massacre”. Kato was arrested at the scene shortly after the violent occurrance, confessing to the authorities that he had gone “to Akihabara to kill people, it didn’t matter who he killed,” according to the agency. AFP news.

“This is a very painful case that had very serious consequences and shocked society”, said the Minister of Justice, who also explained that Kato made “meticulous preparation” for the attack.

The sentence was not effective until 2015

The death sentence, Furukawa explained, “was reached through sufficient court deliberation” and, as a consequence, the minister himself approved the execution “after extremely strict scrutiny.” And, although the sentence was handed down in 2011, the death penalty was appealed by Kato’s defense and in 2012 the Tokyo High Court blocked enforcement of the sentence. It was not until 2015 that it became effective, when the appeal was denied by the Supreme Court.

For their part, Kato’s lawyers argued that the defendant was not in control of his faculties, since, at that time, he was suffering from severe psychological stress, according to information from the EFE news agency, given the possibility that he might lose his job.


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