Japan Executes Tomohiro Kato, The Man Responsible For Death Of 7 People in 2008

Japan executed on Tuesday the man responsible for seven people’s deaths in the aftermath of a car crash and stabbing the crowd in a Tokyo shopping district in the year 2008.

Justice Minister Furukawa broke the news to the media outlets that Tomohiro Kato was executed by hanging at the Tokyo detention center.

Despite the massive international protest and backlash, the death penalty is still performed in Japan. Furukawa said that capital punishment was an appropriate reaction to the heinous violent crimes and that removing it was inappropriate in the current situation.

Furukawa stated that Kato was fully prepared to carry out the mass murders. This act was “a horrendous act that has caused a lot of serious harm and had a significant impact on society.”

The attacker, Kato, drove down his truck along a road within the Akihabara electronics shopping center, slammed into a crowd of people, and killed three pedestrians in June 2008. Then, he got out of the car and stabbed four people. He also injured or wounded another 10.

Japan executes Tomohiro Kato by hanging

Surveillance footage aired by the nation’s broadcaster NHK immediately following the incident showed Kato purchasing hunting knives two days before the attack, joking with a worker at the store, and occasionally using stabbing motions with his hands. According to reports, Kato had posted on online message boards several depressing messages and warned about his plans to murder people in a massive attack.

However, the defense minister denied that this action was not prompted by the recent assassination of the former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe.

During the tenure of the new prime minister Kishida, the execution of Kato is the second hanging. Currently, 107 prisoners are awaiting their execution, out of which 61 have pleaded for retrials.

Japan, along with Japan and the U.S., are the only two countries in the Group of Seven nations that have capital punishment in place. A poll conducted by the Japanese government revealed that a large majority of the population supports executions.

Executions are performed under strict secrecy laws in Japan in which prisoners are not told about their fate until the morning before being hanged. Since 2007 Japan has released the names of the executed and the specifics of the crimes they committed, but details are not yet complete.
Japan executes Tomohiro Kato by hanging
Three prisoners were executed in 2021.

In the year 2018, Japan executed 15 individuals, including the leader of the Aum Shinrikyo cult, as well as 12 former followers who were convicted of the sarin gas explosion on the Tokyo subway, which caused the deaths of 13 people and sickened thousands.