JAPAN: A 39-year-old man who went on a stabbing rampage and killed seven people in Tokyo in 2008 was executed by Japan.
Tomohiro Kato committed one of the most shocking mass murders in the country’s history.
Three people were killed after he drove a truck into a group of people out for lunch in the Akihabara retail district when he was 25 years old.
He then stabbed passers-by with a dagger, killing four and wounding eight.
Police detained him there, and he eventually confessed to his acts during his trial, claiming that he had been enraged by online bullying.
At the time, the crime triggered a heated discussion in Japanese culture about random killings, online influence, and the shortcomings of young people’s mental health services. In consequence, knife-related laws were also made more stringent.
Eight years after Kato was given the death penalty, the authorities announced on Tuesday that Kato had been put to death.
“The case has been fully tried in the courts and the courts’ final conclusion was the death sentence… I have taken the greatest care possible in considering this case,” Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said at a press conference.
In the Tokyo Detention Center, Kato was hanged. In 2015, he unsuccessfully sought to have the sentence commuted in Japan’s top court.
Kato told the police at the time of his arrest, “I came to Akihabara to kill people. It didn’t matter who I’d kill.”
Kato was raised in an affluent home and attended a prestigious high school. But after failing his entrance tests to the university, he had trouble finding consistent work.
Prosecutors also portrayed a troubled young man during the defendant’s trial, one who had expressed his rage and social alienation on multiple occasions in online forums.
Kato, according to the prosecution, was particularly discouraged when one online chat partner stopped emailing him. He had made his intention to commit a mass murder known as he entered the city on the day of the attack.
He was punished in 2011 by the Tokyo District Court, which stated that his savage crime lacked “a shred of humanity.”
Despite opposition from global and regional human rights organisations, Japan is one of the few developed nations that still employs the death sentence.
Three people were executed there in December. The nation’s first execution of the year occurred in Kato’s case. More than 100 prisoners remain on death row.
When Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took office in late 2021, Japan’s executions were resumed. Before that, there had not been any executions in the nation in two years.